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

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Flannery O’Connor was an American author that was most famous for her various short stories and novels. O’ Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia to very catholic oriented parents. Being raised around the principles of the catholic church influenced her writing and the themes she would speak about. One of the most prevalent themes in her short stories is the theme of grace. Grace is often seen as an unmerited divine aid given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification. This paper will be analyzing the theme of grace in one of Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”. It will analyze the character of Mr. Shiftlet and how he ends up rejecting grace.

The short story begins with Mr.Shifltet arriving at Mrs.Lucynell Craters farm where she lives with her daughter, also named, Lucynell Crater. Right at the beginning Mrs. Lucynell Crater gives a rough description of Mr. Shiftlet which gives us insight into Mr. Shiftlet’s character and how he is a troubled man, which further supports the rest of the plot and also explains Mr.Shiftlet’s decisions later on. He is also described to be wearing a brown hat, which is connected with spiritual death, again foreshadowing that denial of grace. While they were talking Mr. Shiftlet spots a car on the property and agrees to stay on the farm in return for food and a place to sleep. Mrs. Lucynell sees this as an opportunity to
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Shiftlet 's smile stretched like a weary snake waking up by a fire.” This simile comparing Mr.Shiflet’s smile to a weary snake is used to characterize Mr. Shiftlet as someone who is deceiving and misleading . By connecting his smile to a snake, O’Connor foreshadowing his future, unwise decisions. A snake is often symbolic of temptation. Mr.Shiftlet not only temps the Craters into living with them but also tricks Lucynell into marrying him when he was planning on just using her the whole

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