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Word Count: 747
Tom T Shiftlet the Untraditional Christ Figure As noted in class Flannery OConnors Catholic faith dominates her writing style Clearly demonstrated in The Life You Save May Be Your Own OConnor reveals interesting parallels between Tom Shiftlet as an untraditional Christ figure in this notable short story The symbolism illustrated through Shiftlet becomes evident upon his entrance in the story The description of Tom T Shiftlet alludes superficially to Jesus Before saying anything to Mrs Crater he swings both his whole and his short arm up slowly so that they indicated an expanse of sky and his figure formed a crooked cross 48 Shiftlet makes a visual reference to Christ by extending his arms His modified representation of Christs crucifixion indicates that he does not resemble Christ directly His partial left arm signifies that he lacks at least part of his spirituality Because Shiftlet does not maintain a strict adherence to the ideals of Christian faith he cannot form the completed cross Shiftlets ultimate lack of religious faith and his desecration of the image of Christ clarify once he begins to speak When taken in context with his actions Shiftlets words call his Christian faith into question According to Shiftlet Nothing is like it used to be the world is almost rotten 49 Part of the reason that things have changed is simply because people like Shiftlet have decided to take advantage of others During his life Christ attempted to better the lives of others through good deeds throughout this story Shiftlet attempts to better his life through actions that might be misconstrued as good deeds Yes Shiftlet does make numerous repairs around the Craters farm but he does not have selfless intentions Instead of doing nice things to help those around him Shiftlet does nice things merely in an attempt to get an automobile When asked what he carries in his tin box Shiftlet replies Tools Im a carpenter 51 As with the
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