What's a Man Made Of?

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"He told the old woman then that all most people were interested in was money, but he asked what a man was made for.  He asked her if a man was made for money, or what.  He asked her what she thought she was made for but she didn't answer, she only sat rocking and wondered if a one-armed man could put a new roof on her garden house" (O'Connor, The Life You Save May Be Your Own, page 57)

I found it interesting that throughout the story, Mr. Shiftlet seems to convince the old woman that he is an honest man and that he doesn't want her money.  However, when it comes down to it, he tries to take as much money from the old woman as he possibly can because she's basically throwing her mentally-retarded daughter at him.  I thought it was just interesting too that he's debating what men are made of but she's only thinking of what she can get this man to do for her.   It definitely shows the distinction of the different characteristics between the two.  When you first meet Mr. Shiftlet, you don't really want to trust him, and you shouldn't, since he's a stranger.  But you also can't really trust the old woman, since you know she's just trying to pawn her daughter off on the first man who comes along that seems decent.

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