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

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merehughes eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 that he is looking for.  He could have taken Lucynell, the daughter and formed a human relationship with her and he moves in this direction. However, at the same time he is drawn in by material possessions. Initially this proves no problem as Lucynell is connected to the car and the wedding money.  In the end though he is unable to make the connection with her and leaves her at the diner while she is sleeping.  He chooses to go off with the car.

In a last ditch attempt to find something in the form of redemption, he picks up a young boy in need of a ride.  However, this young boy can offer him no salvation and is in fact as corrupt as Shiftlet is.  

Ironic is that he keeps seeing the sign on the road telling him that the life he saves may be his own and in fact, he is given an opportunity to save himself but does not take it. 

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The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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