Theme Of The Life You Save May Be Your Own By Flannery O Connor

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"The Life You Save May Be Your Own" is a short story written by the author Flannery O'Connor. It is also one of the ten stories in her short story collection, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, which was published in 1955. O’Connor uses humor in this story just as she does in her other stories to tell the tale of Mr. Shiftlet’s journey through life, and to explain the changes in his character while living with a major disadvantage. One evening Mr. Shiftlet arrives at the desolate Crater farm in hopes to find a place for work. While doing so he ends up striking a deal that allows him to live on the farm in exchange for fixing up the Crater’s place. At this point, Shiftlet is truly in search of work and nothing more, but the tides are soon going to …show more content…

Clasby explains how despite Mr. Shiftlet’s drastic disadvantage, he is still able to save the crater farm and bring life to it. “He carries a tin tool-box, representing his potential for creative work, but he is also maimed” (Clasby 513). In doing this, Mr. Shiftlet sends a message to the Craters that he means business and that he is ready to make a difference on the farm. In the story, Mr. Shiftlet is associated with metallic objects (Clasby 513), this shows the Craters that he is a rational person and that he will be able to complete the work that the Crater’s desperately need done. Along with the other improvements that Shiftlet makes, “he successfully applies his skills to repairing the women’s ancient car” (Clasby 513). Furthermore, Mr. Shiftlet uses his “hero like” skills to fix a broken car that hasn’t run in years. Although Mr. Shiftlet has every excuse to quit being a productive person, he doesn’t allow his own self pity to rule his life. “Images of the heart, or unconscious, run as a counterpoint to the masculine images associated with Shiftlet” (Clasby 514). This means that Shiftlet does not let people define him by his disadvantage, but instead proves them wrong with the heart he shows. Mr. Shiftlet also tells an anecdote about a heart doctor who performed an operation (Clasby 514), and he goes on to say how the doctor doesn't know any more about the heart than other people do, implying that no one is perfect enough to judge others. Mr. Shiftlet …show more content…

Shiftlet is that because of his physical disability people assume that he does not have the “brains” to be a functional member of society. Furthermore, most people consider Shiftlet’s type degenerate and feeble-minded (Arant 70) which is all too often not the case. Shiftlet’s counter argument is that he is blessed with a moral intelligence (Arant 69) which allows him to care and provide for others despite his one arm life. Not only does Shiftlet have a moral intelligence, his intelligence conveys him as being authoritative (Arant 82). Additionally, his posturing frame makes him seem fair minded (Arant 81) which makes him come across as individual that is easy to approach and keep a conversation with. In stating this, it shows that Mr. Shiftlet is a human, just as everyone else is, and that failure and imperfection are among all of us, just as it is upon Mr. Shiftlet. Despite his disability, Mr. Tom T. Shiftlet is set out to prove that “There ain’t a broken thing on this plantation that I couldn’t fix for you, one-arm jackleg or not. I’m a man”(69). In stating this, Mr. Shiftlet sends a firm message that he is as intelligent and as capable as anybody else. “Privileging

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