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“The Life You Save May Be Your Own”

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1 “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”
Flannery O’Connor March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964

2 "I am a writer because writing is the thing I do best"
- Flannery O' Connor

3 BIOGRAPHY Mary Flannery O’Connor was born March 25, 1925, in Savannah, Georgia, to devout Roman Catholic parents. O'Connor graduated from Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville in 1945. -While still in graduate school, published her first short story "Geranium“ In 1951, she was diagnosed with lupus. (a disease that attacks immune system) "in a sense, sickness is a place more instructive than a trip to Europe" O’Connor died from lupus on August 3, 1964, at the age of 39.

4 Writing Style wrote two novels and 32 short stories
wrote based on her personal beliefs about people and society many of her stories are about death, but have a moral message believed her works portrayed the world accurately.

5 Characteristics of Southern Gothic Literature
Southern Gothic is a subgenre of gothic writing that combines elements of dark humor , exaggerations, tragedies, and romance, and are mostly set in the American South. Relies on supernatural, ironic, or unusual events to explore social issues and reveal the cultural character of the American South. Uses classic Gothic archetypes and portrays them more realistically and modernly. Obsesses with the grotesque and distorted. Often includes deeply flawed characters to portray unpleasant aspects of the South.

6 Elements of the Grotesque
O’Connor’s preoccupation with the demonic and violent are central characteristics of her work. Grotesque characters often seen in stories- bizarre or twisted, usually through some kind of obsession. can be expressed through characters physical appearance. She used elements of the grotesque and the distorted to convey a message about the need for spiritual renewal. She believed man had a powerful destructive element in his soul that made him behave grotesquely or violently. Her work is religious because many of her characters knowingly face the choice of Jesus or devil, belief or unbelief, morality or immorality. She includes satirical accounts of materialism and secularism in her writing.

7 “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”
Setting: a small farm Symbolism- isolation from the rest of society Relation to O'Connor- because of her disease, she felt set apart from other people.

8 Characters Mr. Shiftlet one armed man represents greed and sin.
"he swung both his whole and his short arm up slowly so that they indicated an expanse of sky and his figure formed a crooked cross“ -pg. 984 symbolic of his role in the story as a twisted savior. Daughter and Mother both named Lucynell Carter. Young Lucynell - deaf and has mental illness. represents innocence "the girl was nearly thirty but because of her innocence, it was impossible to guess.” Old Lucynell - has no teeth and is large represents hope and eagerness "the old woman watched from a distance, secretly pleased. she was ravenous for a son-in law"

9 Symbolism Handicap: Physically and Mentally
Mr. Shiftlet is physically handicapped (has only one arm) Shiftlet: Shifty- Mr. Shiftlet’s name suggests he is a shiftless, unreliable person. Emotionally handicapped since the day he left his mother, who, like Lucynell, was an “Angel of Gawd” “crooked cross-” Shiftlet’s role is as a twisted, distorted savior.

10 Symbolism Mrs. Crater’s physical ailment is her age (old)
Mrs. Crater: Crater-Hole, emptiness Her emotional handicap is that she is determined to marry off her innocent daughter. Lucynell is physically handicapped with mental retardation. She is emotionally handicapped by not being able to talk and communicate and hold relationships with others.

11 Symbolism Innocence: Lucynell is quiet and sheltered.
She lives happily and simply, much like a child. Lucynell plays a part in this story as an “angel of Gawd,” which symbolizes her innocence and goodness. Mrs. Crater shows some innocence when she sees her ability to judge people as a strength, but it ends up being a weakness and leads to the loss of money, her daughter, and a car.

12 Symbolism Blue: Associated with Virgin Mary
Lucynell wears blue (blue dress, blue eyes) Blue is symbolic of innocence and purity. Automobile- modern day coffin, coffin in which ancient monks slept in.

13 Irony - Title “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”
No lives saved, many damaged Lucynell: Mrs. Crater got her married, hoping to give her a happy life, but she is left in Mobile to care for herself Mrs. Crater: She got Lucynell married, believing that they both would be forever happy, but now is alone without daughter or financial security Mr. Shiftlet: Lost out on chance for love and true happiness with Lucynell and the stability of family

14 Irony - Situational Definition: Contrast between what is expected to happen and what actually happens In the story Mr. Shiftlet says, “Let the world’s rottennes slime be washed away” and then a rain storm chases him

15 Irony - Dramatic Definition: The reader knows more about a situation than the characters know In the story it is ironic when the counter boy at the diner does not know that “angel of Gawd” will be a major problem when she wakes up

16 Irony Mr. Shiftlet is obsessed with the morality and cruelty of the world. This is ironic because Shiftlet is corrupt and evil himself. Mrs. Crater thinks Mr. Shiftlet is saving her and Lucynell from a life of emptiness and loneliness. Ironically, Shiftlet abandons Lucynell at a diner far from her home. Mr. Shiftlet thinks he has the ability and the right to “save” someone else when he needs salvation also.

17 Religion in Stories “I don’t think you should write something as long as a novel around anything that is not of the gravest concern to you and everybody else and for me this is always the conflict between an attraction for the Holy and the disbelief in it that we breathe in with the air of the times.” – Flannery O’Connor The obsession with material items blinds people to their responsibilities towards others, makes them selfish and greedy, and distances them from religious dedication. O'Connor's work might be considered an effort to regain the idea of the Holy in a time in which the meaning and reality of this idea had been hidden. In her stories, she frequently criticizes the greediness and the spiritual indifference of modern society. O’Connor was a Jansenist. Jansenism is the theological principles of Cornelis Jansen that emphasizes predestination and says that human nature is corrupt and incapable of good.

18 “To the hard of hearing you shout and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.” – Flannery O’Connor

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