Questions and Answers for The Life You Save May Be Your Own

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

How would you characterize Mr. Shiftlet and Mrs. Crater and her daughter, Lucynell, in "The Life You Save May Be Your...

Mr. Shiftlet: He can be characterized as apathetic, shrewd, amoral, and devious. Mr. Shiftlet is an astute judge of human nature. He knows how to manipulate someone's emotions for his own benefit....

Latest answer posted January 3, 2018 4:23 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

The Life You Save May Be Your Own Theme

One of the themes that plays a critical role in the story is the connected themes of religion and corruption. There is religious symbolism in the story, Lucynell is referred to an an angel,...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2008 10:34 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What type of irony is being shown in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

In the opening scene, Shiftlet looks up at the setting sun with his arm and stump raised; the narrator describes the image as "his figure formed a crooked cross." This is an example of visual...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2020 4:53 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What is the meaning of the title in the short story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

Ultimately, the only life that Shiftlet is interested in looking after is his own. He has no real interest in marrying the deaf, childlike Lucynell. However when her mother, Mrs. Crater, offers...

Latest answer posted April 15, 2020 8:04 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What is the significance of the remarks made by the hitchhiker just before he leaps from the moving car?

Near the end of the story, Mr. Shiflet abandons Lucynell and gets in his car to travel to Mobile, Alabama. Along the way, he picks up a boy that he thinks is a hitchhiker. The boy doesn't have...

Latest answer posted February 16, 2010 9:01 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Why does Mrs. Crater want Mr. Shiftlet to marry Lucynell?

Even though both Mrs. Crater and Mr. Shiftlet profess the importance of spirituality in their lives, they make decisions based on material needs and wants. Mrs. Crater needs a caretaker for her...

Latest answer posted May 1, 2016 8:05 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Is there irony in, "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

According to the dictionary, "irony is defined as incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the...

Latest answer posted April 21, 2008 10:35 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What are the conflicts presented in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

One of the main conflicts in “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” is internal. Internal conflicts arise within the mind of a character—they comprise some mental or psychological struggle. The reader...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2018 7:34 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In the short story, "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," what do you think is the significance of the peculiar clouds...

In most literature, storms and bad weather usually symbolise either some malevolent act or event or act as harbingers of doom. A storm provides the reader with a sense of foreboding. In this story,...

Latest answer posted December 6, 2015 7:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What are Lucynell's disabilities? What does Mr. Shiftlet do while living on the farm, and why do the three main...

The first disability the narrator notes is that Lucynell has poor distance vision. While her mother is able to spot Mr. Shiftlet at a distance, her daughter "could not see far in front of her and...

Latest answer posted February 20, 2018 5:24 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What does the name Shiftlet mean in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?  

The name Shiftlet implies that he will shift, or that he is shifty. Each of these is true. Mr. Shiftlet’s name has a double meaning. On the one hand, it could mean that he is shifty and not to be...

Latest answer posted February 27, 2013 10:28 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," why does Shiftlet leave Lucynell at the diner? Please include the...

Shiftlet is chronically afraid of responsibility. The last thing he wants to do is to commit himself to a long-term relationship, especially with someone he doesn't even know all that well. Taking...

Latest answer posted August 15, 2019 8:33 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What does Mr. Shiftlet want from Mrs. Crater? How do you know?

After arriving at Mrs. Crater's, Shiftlet spots her old, rusted automobile and covets it. Critic Mark L. Elderstein writes that O'Connor is a modern satirist who perceives all people as grotesques...

Latest answer posted April 2, 2015 3:22 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What has become of young Lucynell and Mr. Shiftlet by the end of "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

The end of the story is rich in irony. Young Lucynell has been abandoned by her husband, the odious Mr. Shiftlet, in a small town at diner called The Hot Spot. The two have just gotten married and...

Latest answer posted May 26, 2017 11:23 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," what does it mean when when it says, "His figure formed a crooked cross"?

In addition, Shiftlet's figure literally forms a "crooked cross" because one of his arms is incomplete. If he extends his arms to form a cross, the horizontal bar of the cross would be...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2008 4:15 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

I need help writing a thesis statement on "The Life You Save May Be Your Own." How do you write a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is the main idea of an essay. Much like a topic sentence, a thesis statement can take the form of "[limited subject] is [precise opinion]." For example, a student could write,...

Latest answer posted May 27, 2017 5:30 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In The Life You Save, is Mr. Shiftlet or Mrs. Crater a hypocrite?

I feel that Mr. Shiftlet is a bigger hypocrite. In the story he tells Mrs. Crater, "never let anyone take your daughter away" and then he not only takes her away but dumps her at a...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2007 4:45 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

How does O’Connor use foreshadowing to help us understand the actions of Mr. Shiftlet at the end of "The Life You...

Mr. Shiftlet is a drifter and his actions at the end, abandoning Lucynell and taking off on his own, are foreshadowed in the story. First, in his initial meeting with Mrs. Crater, he describes his...

Latest answer posted April 15, 2016 9:28 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What was the irony when Mr. Shiftlet "felt that the rottenness of the world was about to engulf him?"

The irony of this statement is that Mr. Shiftlet himself is part of that very same rottenness that threatens to engulf the world. He only appears interested in what he can get, and instead of being...

Latest answer posted January 21, 2019 11:23 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Is there any major imagery in "The Life You Save May be Your Own?"

If by major imagery, you mean significant imagery that enhances the reading experience of Flannery O'Connor's short story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," then yes, major imagery definitely...

Latest answer posted October 26, 2018 12:31 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Why does Mr. Shiftlet want to fix Mrs. Crater's automobile? 

One of the first things Mr. Shiftlet sees when he comes on Mrs. Crater's property is the "1928 or '29 Ford" automobile in a shed. Later, he tells Mrs. Crater he can fix the car and asks her for...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2016 10:55 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What two agreements do Mr. Shiftlet and Mrs. Crater make?

The first agreement that Mr. Shiftlet and Mrs. Crater make is that if Mr. Shiftlet works around Mrs. Crater's place, she can feed him and give him a place to stay. However, she cannot pay him. They...

Latest answer posted February 1, 2018 12:04 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," what part of the story foreshadows the end?

The cross foreshadows the ending, when Mr. Shiftlet will realize he lost faith. Foreshadowing is a hint the author makes in the story about what is going to happen in the future. When Mr. Shiftlet...

Latest answer posted February 27, 2013 11:55 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What is the theme of the story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

One theme of the story is the way the characters, particularly Mr. Shiftlet, miss God's grace by running away from it when it is right in front of them. This is symbolized from the start when Mrs....

Latest answer posted January 16, 2019 7:51 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In "The Life You May Save May Be Your Own," who is worse, Mr. Shiftlet or Mrs. Crater?

In a moral sense, Mrs. Crater is the worse of the two. As the mother, it is Mrs. Crater's responsibility to look out for her daughter's well-being; this responsibility is intensified because of...

Latest answer posted December 16, 2017 2:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What clues are provided about Mr. Shiftlet's selfish intentions even though his words and actions simultaneously...

The first clue is his name. "Shiftlet" would mean "allowing one to shift" (change, not be reliable), and is close to "shiftless," which implies a kind of low greed.The...

Latest answer posted September 13, 2007 2:54 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What significance does the word "sugar pie" have in the story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

When Mrs. Crater realizes that Tom Shiftlet has taught her deaf/mute daughter to say the word bird, she becomes hopeful that she can persuade him to marry Lucynell. This has been one of her goals...

Latest answer posted November 24, 2019 2:08 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What is the moral and motive of The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Flannery O' Connor?

If a moral is to be found in this story, perhaps it is that one should take redemption when it is offered. We have a man who is lonely and looking for something. However, he mistakes what it is...

Latest answer posted December 7, 2007 2:42 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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

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...

Latest answer posted April 15, 2016 8:01 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

How do Mr. Shiftlet and Mrs. Crater attempt to exploit each other in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" by Flannery...

Mr. Shiftlet is a disabled drifter, a wandering tramp with no permanent place to call home. So when he rocks up at Mrs. Crater's farm, he sees a great opportunity to find somewhere to lay his hat....

Latest answer posted November 19, 2018 9:17 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

How does the fate of Mrs.Crater, Lucynell, and Mr.Shiftlet connect to the title of "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

O'Connor's religious vision deals with humankind's fall from grace. Her comedy shows her characters' blindness and inability to redeem themselves through nihilism and materialism. The title "The...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2010 10:38 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," what does the word "milk" mean in the following quote: "That's all I got so...

The quote refers to the bargaining which goes on between Mrs. Crater and Mr. Shiftlet. In order to agree to marry Mrs. Crater's daughter Lucynell, Mr. Shiftlet wants the use of the car and money to...

Latest answer posted May 5, 2016 9:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

How does the story The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Flannery O'Connor support or attack political or moral views?

The story The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Flannery O'Connor is not overtly political, but like all of O'Connor's work engages deeply with moral and religious issues. Although O'Connor herself...

Latest answer posted June 4, 2015 6:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

When Mrs. Crater decides to marry Lucynell to Mr. Shiftlet, Lucynell seems to have no control over her fate. Do Mrs....

On the surface, it seems as though Mrs. Crater is simply using her daughter to have a full time caretaker on her property. She is not shy about using Lucynell, who is deaf and dumb, to fulfill the...

Latest answer posted June 22, 2016 8:09 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What is a universal theme for "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" by Flannery O'Connor?

Flannery O'Connor's stories often deal with God and religion, and these components are present in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own;" the universal theme I find in this short story deals with...

Latest answer posted May 2, 2011 4:06 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Why does Mrs. Crater assume that Mr.Shiftlet is no one to fear in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

One of the grotesques of O'Connor's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," Tom T. Shiflet appears as a tramp who appreciates the beauty of nature; he carries carpenter's tools and moves his body so...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2012 2:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

How would you describe morality in the story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" as it concerns Mr. Shiftlet?

To Mr. Shiftlet, morality is something he has been taught and of whose importance he is well aware, but he cannot grasp it in his own life because of the strength of his own baser appetites. He...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2008 12:20 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In the opening pages of the story, what details of setting, of characterization, and of dialogue foreshadow later...

Let's look at what happens at the end of the story in order to better analyze how the opening paragraphs foreshadow those events. Mrs. Crater and Lucynell are sitting out on the porch when Mr....

Latest answer posted April 17, 2018 12:46 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In Flannery O'Connor's story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," what is the irony when Mr. Shiftlet "felt that the...

Mr. Shiftlet conceives this sentiment in the penultimate paragraph of the story. He had just given a boy a lift and spoke tearfully about his mother, mentioning that she had been an angel and that...

Latest answer posted April 11, 2016 4:50 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

  In 'The Life You Save May Be Your Own,' what are some ways that images of God, Satan and Christ surface during the...

Imagery relating to God, Satan and especially Christ surfaces rather unexpectedly in a generally spare and matter-of-fact narrative. Lucynell Crater, the sweet and literally dumb girl is described...

Latest answer posted March 23, 2013 4:46 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What are three kinds of symbolism in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

In the short story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" by Flannery O'Connor, a drifter named Tom Shiftlet shows up at the farm of an old woman and her deaf-mute daughter, both of whose names are...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020 1:17 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Are there any allegorical elements in the story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

In Flannery O'Connor's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," the key to one allegorical elements lies in the name of the male character, Mr. Shiflet, who could easily be the prototype for the...

Latest answer posted March 5, 2010 1:02 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What is the tone of the story in The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Flannery O'Connor? Does the tone change with...

The story begins on a desolate farm in the middle of nowhere. It is a rural setting with a woman and her daughter sitting on a porch. From this opening, the tone feels quite relaxed, a vignette of...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2015 8:47 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," what does Mr. Shiftlet discover in the shed?

Mr. Shiftlet discovers "a 1928 or '29" Ford automobile in the shed of Mrs. Crater's property. Mrs. Crater claims the car hasn't run in fifteen years but Mr. Shiftlet says he can get it running. He...

Latest answer posted April 28, 2016 7:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What does the "guffawing peal of thunder" and Shiftlet's plea to God at the end of the story symbolize?

The word "guffawing" is pretty significant here. A guffaw is a tremendous laugh. When Shiflet prays ‘‘Oh Lord! Break forth and wash the slime from the earth!’’ after his encounter with...

Latest answer posted March 10, 2008 5:59 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," why is Mrs. Crater not afraid of Mr. Shiftlet when she sees him?

When Mrs. Crater sees Mr. Shiftlet, she is not afraid of him, because she believes he is simply a tramp and "no one to be afraid of." His left coat sleeve is folded up, indicating that he has only...

Latest answer posted April 3, 2017 1:08 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Which quality or attribute does Mr. Shiftlet claim to have in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

In Flannery O'Connor's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," Mr. Shiftlet approaches the old woman and Lucynell. After a brief conversation, the following occurs. "I got," he said, tapping his...

Latest answer posted October 5, 2016 8:54 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What kind of relationship did Mr. Shiflet and his mother have in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

Mr. Shiflet's mother was apparently a good woman who raised her son to "care if (he) did a thing one way or another". Although he lives a life of obvious cynicism in the pursuit of...

Latest answer posted March 18, 2008 12:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What influenced her to write "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"?

Flannery O' Connor was influenced by her life growing up in Georgia. When she was a child she kept a chicken as a pet. The pet could walk forward or backward which was a very strange phenomenon...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2007 5:12 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

What is the significance the hitchhiker's comments?

Near the end of the story, Mr. Shiftlet leaves Lucynell asleep at a diner. He claims that she is a hitchhiker. He drives down the road, and he is feeling quite depressed. Mr. Shiftlet sees a young...

Latest answer posted December 27, 2017 3:54 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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