Like much of Flannery O’Connor’s short fiction, ‘‘The Life You Save May Be Your Own’’ is set in the American South and contains characters whose most notable feature seems to be their ordinariness. Through imagery, dialogue, and moments of revelation, O’Connor explores the themes of morality and religion, both frequent concerns in her work. The story evoked critical praise upon its publication in the Kenyon Review in the spring of 1953. Within the sparse, apparently simple plot of the story, O’Connor constructs a world torn between renewal and emptiness, natural beauty and crass materialism, compassion and cruelty. In the end, O’Connor’s protagonist must choose between these extremes and attempt to experience the grace of God’s love.