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The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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This essay is based on the short story “The Life You Save May be Your Own

that was authored by Flannery O’Connor (1925%u20111964). This is one of the short story collections from the collection of ten other stories in the book “A Good Man is Hard to Find” which was first published in 1955. This story the author has used series of structures which symbolizes unresolved tension between symbolism, religion, faith, pain and realism. Though the brutality of the author tone on the characters is ravaging this article offer scholars with the best fictional symbolic reading ever authored.

There several religious imagery which solicits in the fiction of the story. These imageries are articulated that they are the representation of Shiftlet religious belief and faith which is mixed with immorality of the world which he so despises. These are best portrayed on the first Imagery when he discloses his occupation as a carpenter and his body takes the form of cross in the sun. Further imagery is outlaid when Mr. Shiflet repairs the car of Mrs. Carter and drives off with a serious expression of just modesty which articulates that he has jut raised the dead. He further is insinuated that he is preaching to the two women on the doctrine concerning body and soul relationship. The story also symbolizes imagery when Mr. Shiftlet leaves Lucynell in the hot spot and the boy behind the counter articulates that she looks like an angel of Gwad. The last imagery is portrayed when Mr. Shiftlet beckons the apocalyptic storm to pour down and cleanse the earth slime as exemplified by Elie (Pp, 143).

Thesis Statement

The contradiction of Mr. Shiftlet’s actions and his prophetic voice in the imagery symbolic context within the story

Review Body

In the story Shiftlet has interest in the mystery life and this is closely related to Christ, this is exemplified by the fact that he is a carpenter; he views money as the source of evil and thus loathes money. Further more he claims that he encompasses moral intelligence. Thus this all imply that he dwells upon the concept of accepting and declining the offer of grace. Through the story Mr. Shiftlet breaks the yoke and makes his choice as it is articulated that his smile stretches like the somnolent snake stealthily rattled by fire. His choice is further depicted to the real stand in the lat parts of the story as the story articulate that he cut from the sun and forges forward with Mrs. Carter automobile (Desmond, 76).

The mobile car he had later exemplified that the body of a man is made up of two parts the body which is the man and the spirit. He had articulated through his prophecy to Mrs. Carter that the spirit is like an automobile which is constantly on the move. The result of his choice is best shown when he leaves Lucynell behind and forges forward even after constant sign along the road articulating that the life you save may be yours. Thus his spirits takes on the form of the automobile which he had conveyed that it is always on the move. Thus the story takes a weird turn f event as it articulate that the automobile becomes the coffin which consumes his soul in the end part.

According to Elie (Pp, 91) the betrayal of grace is best shown in the painting of the automobile green color. This is an emblematic of grace opportunity decline. Lucynell in the story acts as the savior to Mr. Shiftlet salvation through the color imagery and symbolic imagery associated with her. Color shoot green is also used on Lucynell when they headed to town to get married, also constant description of her eyes as blue which is associated with heavenly love. Another symbol is the peacock which in the Christianity realm is associated with iconographic symbol of immortality. This story depicts at first Mr. Shiftler portraying good ethical moral with pursuit to spirituality but later is overtaken with lust of material things and own bodily quest as noted by Desmond (Pp, 89).


In this story both Mrs. Carter and Mr. Shiftler are bound through by the pursuing of material goals but they are readily accepting and surrendering to the spiritual realm. They are both enchanted through the innocence of Lucynell action. However, these facts are exemplified by the story that they lead one to spiritual death. This story depicts the challenges faced by many Christian of today challenged with what is morally right and what is spiritually right and end up eventually doing or taking the wrong choice.

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