Summary

As the story begins, and old woman and her thirty-year-old, holy ghost handicapped daughter, both named Lucynell Crater, space sitting on your porch. Tom Shiftlet, a wandering one-armed man, approaches them and also comments top top the beautiful sunset. The elder Lucynell Crater think he is a tramp. That notices your unused car and also asks them whether they drive; the elder Lucynell Crater answers that the auto hasn't run in fifteen years, since her husband died.

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They proceed to talk, and also when she asks him who he is and also where he come from, that asks just how she'll recognize he isn't lying when he does tell her. That reveals the he is a carpenter, and she provides to offer him a ar to stay and also food to eat if the will carry out some job-related for her; he'll need to sleep in the old, unused car. The elder Lucynell Crater asks if he is solitary or married, and though that doesn't price the question, he suggests that he is unmarried since he cannot discover a woman innocent enough.

In his an initial week of work, Tom Shiftlet renders a most progress, and also teaches the younger Lucynell, a deaf-mute, to say a couple of words. Her mother suggests that that teach she to say, "sugarpie," and it is obvious that she wishes they will get married. That decides that he is walk to do the old car run again, and also the elder Lucynell agrees to give him the money he demands to settle it. The following day, he has actually it running, and drives it out of the garage.

That night, the elder Lucynell Crater renders explicit her market of she daughter as a wife. In ~ first, Tom Shiftlet states he cannot get married due to the fact that he has actually no money. But she says that her daughter doesn't understand the difference, and says that she will certainly pay to paint the car by Saturday so that they can drive come the courthouse and also get married. She also offers to offer him money because that a usually honeymoon, and also he is convinced.

That Saturday, the three of them journey to the courthouse and the younger Lucynell Crater and also Tom Shiftlet are married legally. But Tom Shiftlet says he is unsatisfied v the wedding, since "that was just something a mrs in one office did, naught but file work and blood tests." lock drop the elder Lucynell Crater turn off at the house, and she is plainly pained come say good-bye to her daughter because they have actually never to be separated before; however, she expects to watch them again after 2 days.

After control one hundred miles, Tom Shiftlet stop at The warm Spot, a restaurant. Lucynell promptly drops asleep on the counter. That buys she a plate of food and tells the boy functioning at the respond to to offer it to her as soon as she wakes up; he describes that she is a hitchhiker and also that the can't wait due to the fact that he needs to make it come Tuscaloosa. Together he drives away, that sees the occasional sign reading, "Drive carefully. The life you save might be her own."

Soon, he choose up a boy wearing overalls who is hitchhiking through a suitcase. Tom Shiftlet begins to talk to the boy, that is unresponsive at first. That talks around his mother, who he praises together "the best old mother in the world," and muses that the worst job of his life was when he left her. This is plainly making the boy uncomfortable. Together Tom Shiftlet starts to tear increase from talking about his angelic mother, the hitchhiking boy tells him, "You walk to the devil! my old mrs is a flea bag and yours is a stinking pole cat!" and throws himself from the passenger door. A storm cloud descends and also it starts come rain together Tom Shiftlet continues to drive toward Mobile.

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Analysis

In his interactions through the Lucynell Craters, Tom Shiftlet has actually a possibility to accomplish Grace. He has actually been wandering and also has no friends, and also has discovered in this family a chance to occupational hard, clock a beautiful sunset every night, and live a quiet life. This possibility is hinted at as soon as he first approaches the two women sitting on the porch and turns his earlier to castle to challenge the sunset: "He swung both his whole and his short arm up progressively so that they indicated an expanse the sky and his number formed a crooked cross." the crooked overcome embodied in his number represents his possibility at salvation. As he drives toward Mobile, having missed his chance, he prays, "Oh Lord! rest forth and wash the slime indigenous this earth!"

Tom Shiftlet, like plenty of other characters in O'Connor's short stories, is disenchanted with the state that the world. After the elder Lucynell Crater tells him the her vehicle no longer runs, he says, "Nothing is prefer it supplied to be, lady... The people is virtually rotten." Later, as soon as he is solving the car, he comments the "the trouble with the people was that nobody cared, or stopped and took any type of trouble." through the end of the story, after he has abandoned the younger Lucynell Crater and also caused the hitchhiking boy to jump the end of his car, that "felt that the rottenness the the world was around to engulf him."

O'Connor's use of simile ideas at larger definition in the story. As her mother and Tom Shiftlet make small talk about the sunset, the younger Lucynell Crater watches the "with a careful sly look together if he to be a bird that had actually come up very close." The an initial word the teaches her to to speak is "bird," implying the he is revealing a part of himself to her; they have actually a special form of communication. When Tom Shiftlet start the old vehicle for the very first time in fifteen years, he has "an expression of significant modesty top top his challenge as if he had actually just elevated the dead." This small miracle, tied come the miracle of Jesus elevating the dead Lazarus in the brand-new Testament, links the automobile to Tom Shiftlet himself. He was dead, and also in the Lucynell Craters has actually a chance at new life. When the elder Lucynell supplies him she daughter in marriage, she says, "Lemme tell you something: over there ain't any place in the world for a bad disabled friendless drifting man," virtually as a threat, and also "the ugly words resolved in Mr. Siftlet's head favor a team of buzzards in the peak of a tree." as he it s okay the idea to take the car and also abandon her daughter, his "smile stretched like a weary snake waking increase by a fire." The line simile argues the devil, as opposed to his possibility at salvation. He will pick to listen to this evil one as the abandons Lucynell in ~ The hot Spot.

As in plenty of of Flannery O'Connor's stories, weather is vital indicator of characters' moods and also important moments. Together Tom Shiftlet drives off with the younger Lucynell Crater in the car, supposedly to walk on a honeymoon, "The at an early stage afternoon was clear and open and also surrounded by pale blue sky;" he still has actually a opportunity to redeem himself. But after he abandons she at The warm Spot, he has actually lost his chance at salvation; this moment is implemented by the weather: "Deep in the sky a storm to be preparing an extremely slowly and also without thunder as if it meant to drainpipe every autumn of wait from the earth prior to it broke." after the hitchhiking boy has actually thrown himself out the passenger door, all is really lost for Tom Shiftlet, and also "there to be a guffawing peal of thunder from behind and wonderful raindrops, favor tin-can tops, crashed end the rear of Mr. Shiftlet's car."

The soot of the weather is increased by its personification throughout the story. As soon as Tom Shiftlet viewpoints the home of the Lucynell Craters at the start of the story, he leans to the side "as if the breeze to be pushing him," with his face turned towards the sunlight "which appeared to it is in balancing chin on the top of a tiny mountain." together Tom Shiftlet drives along slowly after the young in the overalls has leapt indigenous his car, "A cloud, the exact shade of the boy's hat and also shaped like a turnip, had descended end the sun, and also another, worse looking, crouched behind the car."

Next Section"The River" review and AnalysisPrevious Section"A great Man Is tough to Find" summary and AnalysisBuy research GuideHow To cite https://www.gaianation.net/flannery-oconnors-stories/study-guide/summary-the-life-you-save-may-be-your-own in MLA FormatJoyce, Meghan. Chazelle, Damien ed. "Flannery O'Connor’s stories “The Life girlfriend Save might Be her Own” an introduction and Analysis". gaianation.net, 12 July 2010 Web. Point out this page