The Life You Save May Be Your Own By James Baldwin And Flannery O Connor

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Culture Area 1 – Americas Although they are both powerful literary works, the artworks of Flannery O’Connor and James Baldwin contain unique differences. O’Connor’s short story, The Life You Save May Be Your Own, dates to 1955 in the U.S., and Baldwin’s artwork Sonny’s Blues was written in 1957 in the U.S. Although they were both written in the same period, both artworks take perspective in different settings. Additionally, they seek different themes; for example, O’Connor explores themes of corruption and selfishness whereas Baldwin explores the theme of identity and brotherhood. Flannery O’Connor and James Baldwin both created powerful works; however, they use different types of literary devices for the purpose of enhancing the style and …show more content…

O’Connor focuses on critiquing the period of the “Decaying South”. The “Decaying South” was a time where society was morally corrupt, and women faced sexism. She portrays this with the characters of Mr. Shiftlet, Miss Crater, and Mrs. Crater. It illustrates the selfishness and cruelty of humankind, which unfortunately still exists today. However, this artwork contributes to the idea of how selfishness is hurtful to oneself in the end. For example, Mrs. Crater's selfishness led to her losing her daughter and Mr. Shiftlet losing something that was good in his life. In addition, she acknowledges the prejudice against people with disability with the character Miss Crater. This was based upon the Nature vs. Nurture debate and the Eugenics Movement in the 1950s. Both these events involved the discrimination of individuals who were deemed to be unfit by society. In contrast, Baldwin dwells upon racism that occurs historically and socially in the U.S. His experience with being born in Harlem and his role in the Civil Rights Movement influenced his writing to bring awareness to the events occurring in the black community and the reasoning behind them. With this, he draws attention to the idea of the lack of individualism black people faced in that time period which unfortunately continues today. Lastly, although they both were written in the same time period, they effectively demonstrate two different

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