How to Write a Summary of an Article? Shiftlet, crosses their path and after a bit of conversation is offered a place to sleep and food to eat in exchange for fixing things around the house.
Yet it is the humor, ultimately, which first catches the attention of most readers.
Hooper and George W. These swapping session scenes are also reminiscent of the Armsted-Snopes exchanges in the fiction of William Faulkner. The basic plot of the story is very simple. One evening, near sunset, Tom T.
Shiftlet shiftless or shifty arrives at the desolate and bedraggled farmhouse of Mrs. Lucynell Crater emptiness or void and her nearly thirty-two-year-old, deaf-mute daughter, also named Lucynell. During a conversation which allows each of the major characters to size one another up, Shiftlet, who spies an old automobile which he desires, agrees to stay on the farm in exchange for food and a place to sleep.
Shiftlet is delighted to be able to sleep in the car, commenting to Mrs. Crater, in making her offer, sees Shiftlet as someone who at the least will make repairs around the place and who, at best, is a potential husband for her daughter.
Within a week, Shiftlet has made numerous repairs around the place, has taught the deaf-mute daughter to speak a single word — bird — and, to a certain extent, has gained the trust of Mrs. He then turns his attention to the real object of his affection, the car.
Crater even tells Shiftlet that the girl is only sixteen or seventeen. When Shiftlet succeeds in resurrecting the car, much to the delight of Lucynell, who, sitting on a crate, stamps her feet and screams, "Burrdttt! Crater for all he can get. Crater, "ravenous for a son-in-law," offers a mortgage-free farm with "a well that never runs dry" and a warm house in winter; in addition, she will even pay for paint for the auto.
Shiftlet, now triumphant, extracts honeymoon money from her — first, fifteen dollars; then, seventeen-fifty — and the bargain is struck.
On the following Saturday, Shiftlet and the daughter are married while Mrs. Crater acts as witness. Leaving a somewhat distressed Mrs. Crater at the farm, the couple begin their honeymoon.
About a hundred miles from the farm, he stops and abandons the sleeping Lucynell at a diner called The Hot Spot, telling the counter attendant that she is only a hitchhiker and that he needs to "make Tuscaloosa," a destination in the center of the state while Mobile is on the coast, at the extreme south edge of the state.
Perhaps somewhat depressed by his actions, and somehow influenced by the road signs which announce, "Drive carefully. The life you save may be your own," Shifilet, feeling that "a man with a car had a responsibility to others," stops and picks up a young boy who is hitchhiking.
Evidently convinced that the boy has run away from home, Shiftlet begins to extol the virtues of his "old mother" whom he supposedly left. Briefly shocked, Shiftlet offers up a short prayer and then races an approaching shower into Mobile.
If one examines those elements as they are used in this story, it becomes, as we have said, more than a humorous tale; it becomes a comment on at least one of the ways by which man may separate himself from the Divine order of things.
We note that Shiftlet arrives at the farm wearing a black suit and a brown hat. Black has traditionally been viewed as a symbol of physical death and of the underworld, while brown is associated with spiritual death and degradation.
Gray, the color of the hats of Mrs. Crater and the young hitchhiker, as well as of the turnip-shaped cloud which descends over the sun at the end of the story, has been variously associated with neutralization, egoism, depression, inertia, and indifference. While the hat is the only item of Mrs.
The color imagery associated with her is designed to emphasize her purity and innocence, as well as to associate her with the divine. Blue, the color of her dress when we first see her, and of her eyes, is associated with heaven and heavenly love and has become the traditional color associated with the Virgin Mary in Christian art.
The white of her wedding dress is, of course, usually representative of innocence and purity while the "pink-gold hair" may be seen as emblematic of the divine gold residing in the flesh pink. Green, the color which Shiftlet paints the car, while emblematic of vegetation and spring, has also been considered suggestive of charity and the regeneration of the soul through good works.
Yellow, the color of the band which he paints over the green, and of the fat moon which appears in the branches of the fig tree, is frequently used to suggest infernal light, degradation, betrayal, treason, and deceit.
Finally, the sun, given a color only late in the story, is described as a "reddening ball"; red, normally associated with blood, passion, creativity, has also been adopted by the Church as the color for martyred saints.
Shiftlet arrives at the Crater farm at sunset, and Mrs. Crater finds it necessary to shield her eyes from the piercing sun in order to see him.
By the end of the story, however, he and his prayer are separated from the sun by the gray, turnip-shaped cloud, an indication that as a result of his egoism and his indifference, he has rejected the grace offered him in the form of the innocent Lucynell and a farm which he could tend.
Man, having free will, may, however, choose not to act on this new insight. Thus, the car painted green, emblematic of the regeneration of the soul through good works, is given a yellow stripe indicating that Shiftlet has betrayed his opportunity for grace.Ask Your Own Question Study Guide for Flannery O'Connor’s Stories Flannery O'Connor's Stories study guide contains a biography of Flannery O'Connor, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
This analysis of the story relies upon a general understanding of O'Connor's point of view concerning her fiction. It is not, however, the only way that the story may be read. Some critics are entranced by the humor in the story and pay little attention to the color imagery and the underlying religious meaning which the story contains.
The Life You Save May Be Your Own Re-defining African American Women’s Communication, Sexuality and Creativity in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Octavia E.
Butler’s Kindred, and Toni Morrison’s Sula Silje Linnerud Næss. Summary and Analysis "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List Even though the story as it now stands appears to focus on the attempts of two equally unscrupulous characters to gain an advantage over the other, O'Connor, through the use of color imagery and somewhat obvious symbolism, manages to make the.
Literary Analysis of 'The life you save may be your own" - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Critics recognized the importance of "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" immediately after it was published in the literary journal Kenyon Review in the spring of That year the story was included in the annual collection of exemplary short fiction published to honor the memory of the short story writer O.