Life You Save May Be Your Own Theme Essay

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Flannery O’Connor’s piece entitled “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” is the story of a traveling carpenter that comes upon a house in which a mother and daughter live. He begins doing repairs for the old woman and deaf daughter and eventually marries the daughter. After he fixes the car, he takes the daughter on a honeymoon in which he ends up ditching her and drives away in the pelting rain. The author has a strong Catholic/Christian background and has a few symbols that relate back to themes that can be found in the Bible. Throughout the story, the author’s subtle yet purposeful positioning and use of the sky and sun as symbols highlights her religious theme. According to the Christianity, Heaven exists somewhere high above the clouds…show more content…
From the beginning of the story, Mr. Shiftlet is introduced in the light of the setting sun in which his open-armed figure creates a sort of lop-sided cross which spreads across the expanse of sky. Here he is appearing to try and embrace God and almost seems to be a man of good faith as he is so open to the sunlight. Although this is not the case for the sun at this particular scene is highlighting the fact that he is not as trustworthy or holy as he seems to be due to the fact that his cross-like figure is misshapen. If Mrs. Lucynell had not been so blind, the story could have ended so very differently. Much later in the story, after Mr. Shiftlet has abandoned Lucynell in the diner and he has seen the first of the warning signs along the road, he is struck by the sun as “it was a reddening ball that through his windshield was slightly flat on the bottom and top”. That particular description and the use of the color portrays it to be particularly eye-shaped yet seething with anger, for he has caused such harm upon such an angel as Lucynell; it’s even comparable to a stop sign whose distinguishable feature is its red color. Mr. Shiftlet pays no attention to this sign, although, he
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