Flannery O Connor The Life You Save May Be Your Own Literary Analysis

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Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah on March 25, 1925. She was born into and adopted an extremely Catholic belief system. She lived in New York from time to time (Gordon). O’Connor went to college majoring in journalism, but quickly figured out that wasn’t her calling, like many college students do. She entered the Master’s program in creative writing. She worked as the editor and cartoon artist for Georgia College and State University literary paper, the Corinthian. O’Connor often uses religion themes in her works, just like “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”. In her short story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”, Flannery O’Connor uses symbolism, irony, and allegory to explore self preservation in order to prompt self reflection. Flannery …show more content…
One of the most evident allegories is the theme of self-preservation. In “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”Tom Shiftlet chooses to save himself and stop at nothing to achieve that. He doesn’t care who he has to deceive or trick to get, what he thinks is, farther in life. The life Tom Shiftlet saves is his own. He abandons Lucynell Carter, his deaf, mute wife, in a diner asleep telling the restaurant boy that she’s simply a hitchhiker trying to make it farther than he is willing to take her. The only word Lucynell Carter can even remotely say is “bird”, which Tom Shiftlet taught her say. Tom Shiftlet is much like a bird at the end of the story, flying away, never to be seen again. The bird symbolizes Tom Shiftlet as he flies away not having a care in the world, and it also symbolizes the freedom that Lucynell Carter will never have because of her limitations (Wilson). When Tom Shiftlet is first told that the car he speaks of does not work he says nothing is like it use to be anymore. He continues with saying that the world is almost rotten (O’Connor The). Later in the story Tom Shiftlet says that the trouble with the world was that no one cared, or stopped and took on trouble to actually care enough to change anything. (O’Connor The). By the end of the story, after Tom Shiftlet abandons the poor Lucynell Carter and the hitchhiker jumps from the car, he says that he felt the …show more content…
Flannery O’Connor leaves the reader having to make the tough decision on what is line passed to be evil and when Tom Shiftlet crossed it (Gordon). The short story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” tells of a story of a men being given grace and a new chance, but turning his back on that grace. It tells the story of a man who swears to rid the earth of the kind of people he calls slime, but becomes exactly that. The man was given a second chance, a new start, but failed to get even remotely far in that new life. In her short story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”, Flannery O’Connor uses symbolism, irony, and allegory to explore self-preservation in order to prompt self-reflection (Wilson). The short story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” leaves you wondering what good vs evil is and where the line is crossed and you become evil. It makes you ponder on what you would’ve done to further yourself in

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