In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" by Flannery O'Connor, what bargain is struck between Mr. Shiftlet and Mrs. Crater over her daughter, Lucynell?  

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While not explicitly saying so, Mrs. Crater promises her land, a "permanent place" with a "deep well," to Mr. Shiftlet if he will marry Lucynell. It's understood that if he marries the deaf girl he must live on the property and presumably take it over when the old woman dies. Mr. Shiftlet also bargains with her over the terms of the marriage. He makes the argument that his "spirit" is like an automobile and he likes to travel. He wants to take Lucynell to a hotel and buy her a nice meal. Mrs. Crater grudgingly agrees to give Mr. Shiftlet $17.50 for such an excursion. She also gives him money so he can have the old Ford automobile painted and, after the wedding, he loads Lucynell into the car and starts off. Of course, as his name suggests, he cheats Mrs. Crater out of the car and the money, as he ditches Lucynell at a roadside cafe and starts off to Mobile.

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The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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