The Life You Save May Be Your Own Historical Context

This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Life You Save May Be Your Own.
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Postwar Affluence and the Rise of the Automobile

When placed in the context of post-World War II America, this story can be seen as an implicit critique of an increasingly wealthy and mobile America that has become more concerned with money than with individuals. A key symbol in this story is the automobile, which was rapidly changing American lifestyles in the early 1950s. Suburbs were popping up all across the country and highways and expressways were being constructed, all because of the impact of the automobile. O'Connor uses the Craters's old automobile, which Shiftlet repairs, as a symbol of his connection to material goods and his lack of compassion towards Lucynell, whom he abandons at a diner before driving off to Mobile.

O'Connor connects Shiftlet's obsession with the automobile with his inability to attain some form of redemption through Lucynell, who is referred to as an "angel of...

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This section contains 514 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Life You Save May Be Your Own Study Guide
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The Life You Save May Be Your Own from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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