« Predicament | Main | catalogues »

March 14, 2006

missing parts

O'Connor, ''The Life You Save May Be Your Own'' -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)

"Very quickly he stepped on the gas and with his stump sticking out the window he raced the galloping shower into Mobile."

The mother had no teeth, Lucynell was deaf and Mr. Shiftlet was missing part of his arm. If we are looking at O'Connor's work for the absence of good things, these deformities are certainly important for this story. Shiftlet says "he never would have been able to teach Lucynell to say a word if he hadn't cared and stopped long enough". This is certainly true, so what is it that he is lacking? Does he stop caring all of a sudden about Lucynell and then transfer his caring onto the hitchhiker boy? If so, then he remains a caring person, although a particularly fickle one.

Posted by JenniferDiFulvio at March 14, 2006 09:28 PM


Mr.Shiflet is caring however, I feel that the only reason that he went to the house in the first place was for the car. He did whatever he had to, to get the car and after that he did not care about what happened after the fact. He had an alternative motive and that was the car and to pursue his own interests. He used his disability to get what he wanted. Caring for his own needs and I am sure if the hitchhiker was not going in his direction he probably would not have taken the time to pick him up.

Posted by: LisaRandolph at March 15, 2006 11:10 AM

Mr. Shiftlet was not caring, for he never even addressed the old woman once by her name. Caring people take the time to honor your introduction when you give them one. He was running from something and Lucynell, her daughter, and the hitchhiker were only resources along the way.

Posted by: Shanelle Kapusta at March 15, 2006 02:22 PM

Don't forget the Christ metaphors. He's a "broken cross" and a "carpenter." The "monks of old" slept in their "coffins." He "raises the dead" when he fixes the car. He is a flawed savior, the antithesis of the biblical character he emulates. "Wash the slime from the earth," indeed!

Posted by: Watty at April 3, 2006 05:31 PM

The story was confusing towards the end and didnt make sense. Why would mr. shiftlit agree to something and not follow through. And what happend to the girl in the end? and what was the deal with the hitchhicker?

Posted by: Jordan at December 6, 2006 12:15 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?