The Life You Save May Be Your Own

by Flannery O’Connor

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Topics for Further Study

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Research aspects of Christian theology—specifically, passages or stories from the Bible— and compare them with the themes in O’Connor’s story. Start with Jesus’s disruption of the market in the temple or Judas’s betrayal of Jesus.

Research the automobile’s effect on American society in the early 1950s. Include such aspects as the way it was advertised on television and in magazines to demonstrate its effect on our modern lifestyle and culture. Based on your research, how might readers from the 1950s have greeted O’Connor’s somewhat critical depiction of the automobile in ‘‘The Life You Save May Be Your Own’’?

Is O’Connor’s depiction of young Lucynell Crater insensitive to people with disabilities? Why or why not?

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