If someone told you “the life you save may be your own”, how would you interpret it? In the story, “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”, Tom Shiftlet happens upon this saying as he is trying to escape his mistakes. The symbolism with this saying shows how Mr Shiftlet needs to change his ways if he wants to stop hurting the people he cares about. This short story by Flannery O 'Conner brings together the themes of gender inequality and the 1950s to formulate a story with such an impact. “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Conner is a timeless classic with values and themes that can apply to life in any generation because of its historical time period, its perspective, and its symbolism.
This story was written in the 1950s and depicts the 1950s although it does not mention any events going on at the times. There was the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union after WWII, which affected some Americans ' living preferences. An anti-communist emotion settled over the US and its citizens while the rest of the world was giving in to it. During the 50s, life was easy, money was in abundance and jobs were everywhere. The economy was doing better than ever (1950s, Web). After the war, many people began to make new lives for themselves and started over with better economic opportunities. This time period is reflected in the story because they are living simple, yet comfortable lives and have some of the main elements of that time period including an “automobile” and the amount of currency they were using to pay for a weekend trip. In the story, the two women were living quietly on a little farm together and they didn 't really have a connection with the outside wo...
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... a broken thing on this plantation that I couldn 't fix for you, one-arm jackleg or not. I 'm a man," he says, "even if I ain 't a whole one. I got ... a moral intelligence!"”(Arant) He then proves himself to be a totally different person by leaving the Craters as if they mean nothing.
The Life You Save May Be Your Own includes important themes and symbols that are directly influenced by O 'Conner 's life and portrays a perspective that gives relevance to its topic. From this story we learn that we need to watch for warnings in our lives about our actions so we do not hurt others or ourselves. Sometimes we need to stop and check out our surroundings in order to really evaluate our lives. The phrase "The life you save could be your own" refers to reflecting on your life and making it less likely to bring harm to someone, or, as the quote says, bring harm to yourself.
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