Lucynell is Mrs. Crater's daughter. She is deaf, dumb, and probably suffers from some intellectual impairment, too. Lucynell appears to be childlike in most ways, even though Mrs. Crater tells Mr. Shiftlet that Lucynell is "smart" because she can "sweep the floor, cook, wash, feed the chickens, and hoe." Mrs. Crater claims Lucynell is fifteen or sixteen years old, but O'Connor reveals she is closer to thirty, but looks much younger because of her innocence. Apparently, Lucynell has spent her entire life with her mother on their property.
Despite the fact that Mr. Shiftlet is missing one arm, he is quite the handyman. He makes several repairs to Mrs. Crater's property, including patching the back steps, building a new hog pen, and restoring a fence. He has also had time to teach Lucynell, who had never uttered a word before, how to say "bird" (an appropriate word because Shiftlet was eventually planning on flying away by stealing Mrs. Crater's car). Shiftlet also fixes the Ford automobile with a new fan belt.
After Mrs. Crater offers the car and her property to Mr. Shiftlet when she dies, he agrees to marry Lucynell. She also lets Mr. Shiflet take Lucynell to a hotel for a honeymoon. The three go into town for the wedding, a simple ceremony performed in the "Ordinary's Office." Afterward, Shiftlet is described as "morose and bitter." He eventually dumps Lucynell at a roadside cafe and takes off with Mrs. Crater's car.