Abandoning an Angel

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Jessie’s entry on O’Connor’s “The Life You Save May Be You Own,” made me ponder the title of the short story more.  I think it is possible that Mr. Shiflet wanted a woman like his mother.  However, I took it more that he left Lucynell like that because she was too pure and innocent.  If you notice, he leaves her after the boy at the restaurant says she is like an angel.  Mr. Shiflet, I think, does like to be reminded of how far he has degraded himself and how lost he is.  It almost seems to me that he doesn’t want any help, or to get better.  His mother steered him in the right direction, and he left her.  Now he had another chance, a chance to start over, with this new “angel”.  Yet, he throws it all away, preferring to live in sin.  After all, if he had stayed with Lucynell, the life (as in his spirit) he saved may have been his own.

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