The Life You Save May Be Your Own Essay

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Deignan is a teaching assistant in American Cultural Studies at Bowling Green State University. In the following essay, he traces the theme of Christian anti-materialism in " The Life You Save May Be Your Own," finding it "a cautionary tale of twisted priorities and excessive materialism which is consistent with a rich body of thought in American history."

While Flannery O'Connor builds several important themes into "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," the anti-materialist aspect of the story deserves special attention because it fits into what could be characterized as the anti-materialist strain in American intellectual history.

Since the founding of the republic, prominent and common Americans alike have experienced conflicting emotions regarding material wealth. After the late eighteenth-century American Revolution, John Adams, the second president of the United States, wondered how it would be possible "to prevent luxury from producing . . . extravagance, vice and folly?" Such...

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This section contains 2,342 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Life You Save May Be Your Own Study Guide
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