The Life You Save May Be Your Own Questions and Answers

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O'Connor was a devout Catholic, and her writing conveys her religious beliefs. In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," her purpose is to show that a life full of material objects but lacking God is...

Latest answer posted November 22, 2020, 12:52 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a grim reality that Shiftlet does not love Lucynell. To Shiftlet, Lucynell is just a means to an end. Accordingly, Shiftlet abandons Lucynell because his main goal of obtaining an automobile...

Latest answer posted November 15, 2017, 7:07 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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 "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

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

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

When Mr. Tom T. Shiftlet, as he calls himself, shows up at the farmhouse of Lucynell Crater, Lucynell first sizes him up to determine whether or not he's a threat. Based on his physical appearance,...

Latest answer posted May 12, 2016, 6:13 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

O'Connor's description of Shiftlet's shape as a "crooked cross" connects him with Jesus, also a carpenter, and Mrs. Crater sees Shiftlet as a kind of savior for Lucynell. The "crooked" aspect of...

Latest answer posted January 30, 2009, 2:23 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

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

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 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

Despite what Mrs. Crater says about her not wanting any man to take her daughter away from her, in actual fact, she's on the lookout for a prospective husband for Lucynell. When Mr. Shiftlet shows...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2021, 12:12 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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

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