The Life You Save May Be Your Own Conflict Essay

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Out of all types of conflict, those that exist between a person and himself can prove to be the toughest to overcome. This is because one can only rely on himself to solve the problem. In “The Life You Save May be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor, the major conflicts resides within Mr. Shiftlet. This man vs. self conflict involves the struggle in which he tries to overcome his evil ways, but continues to fail in the shadows of his own selfishness. He attempts to undertake good deeds to help others such as the Craters with their house work and the wandering boy with advice, but continues to fall short even by the end of the story. He is forever stuck in this struggle of breaking his habitual, evil ways. In the beginning of the story, Mr. Shiftlet comes along the desolate home of the Crater’s. Although he has a handicapped arm, he uses his acquired carpenting skills to work for Mrs. Crater in exchange for food and a place to sleep. He patches the front and back steps, builds a new hog pen, and restores their fence. Even more importantly he works to…show more content…
Shiftlet tries once more to redeem himself by attempting another good deed. Along the road, he picks up a young, hitchhiking boy who ran away from home. Mr. Shiftlet knows the little boy’s decision is one that he will most likely regret in the future, so he tries to convince the boy to go back home to his mother. He consoles the boy and tells him that his mother is the second best mother in the world, and that there’s nothing sweeter in the world than a mother. But unlike the Crater’s, this little boy is not fooled by Mr. Shiftlet’s false kindness. The child can see right through Mr. Shiftlet’s act. He says that their mothers are flea bags and pole cats, and jumps right out of the passenger side door. To conclude the story, Mr. Shiftlet’s last attempt at redeeming his bad habits and evil ways, failed to a young boy who was not fooled by his deceiving actions and
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