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Aaaaaaaaaa Essay

4780 words - 20 pages

The Life You Save May Be Your Own Flannery O'ConnorTHE old woman and her daughter were sitting on their porch when Mr. Shiftlet came up their road for the first time. The old woman slid to the edge of her chair and leaned forward, shading her eyes from the piercing sunset with her hand. The daughter could not see far in front of her and continued to play with her fingers. Although the old woman lived in this desolate spot with only her daughter and she had never seen Mr. Shiftlet before, she could tell, even from a distance, that he was a tramp and no one to be afraid of. His left coat sleeve was folded up to show there was only half an arm in it and his gaunt figure listed slightly to the ...view middle of the document...

She was about the size of a cedar fence post and she had a man's gray hat pulled down low over her head.The tramp stood looking at her and didn't answer. He turned his back and faced the sunset. He swung both his whole and his short arm up slowly so that they indicated an expanse of sky and his figure formed a crooked cross. The old woman watched him with her arms folded across her chest as if she were the owner of the sun, and the daughter watched, her head thrust forward and her fat helpless hands hanging at the wrists. She had long pinkgold hair and eyes as blue as a peacock's neck.He held the pose for almost fifty seconds and then he picked up his box and came on to the porch and dropped down on the bottom step. "Lady," he said in a firm nasal voice, "I'd give a fortune to live where I could see me a sun do that every evening.""Does it every evening," the old woman said and sat back down. The daughter sat down too and watched him with a cautious sly look as if he were a bird that had come up very close. He leaned to one side, rooting in his pants pocket, and in a second he brought out a package of chewing gum and offered her a piece. She took it and unpeeled it and began to chew without taking her eyes off him. He offered the old woman a piece but she only raised her upper lip to indicate she had no teeth.Mr. Shiftlet's pale sharp glance had already passed over everything in the yardthe pump near the comer of the house and the big fig tree that three or four chickens were preparing to roost inand had moved to a shed where he saw the square rusted back of an automobile. "You ladies drive?" he asked."That car ain't run in fifteen year," the old woman said. "The day my husband died, it quit running.""Nothing is like it used to be, lady," he said. "The world is almost rotten.""That's right," the old woman said. "You from around here?""Name Tom T. Shiftlet," he murmured, looking at the tires."I'm pleased to meet you," the old woman said. "Name Lucynell Crater and daughter Lucynell Crater. What you doing around here, Mr. Shiftlet?"He judged the car to be about a 1928 or '29 Ford. "'Lady," he said, and turned and gave her his full attention, "lemme tell you something. There's one of these doctors in Atlanta that's taken a knife and cut the human heartthe human heart," he repeated, leaning forward, "out of a man's chest and held it in his hand," and he held his hand out, palm up, as if it were slightly weighted with the human heart, "and studied it like it was a dayold chicken, and lady," he said, allowing a long significant pause in which his head slid forward and his claycolored eyes brightened, "he don't know no more about it than you or me.""That's right," the old woman said."Why, if he was to take that knife and cut into every corner of it, he still wouldn't know no more than you or me. What you want to bet?""Nothing," the old woman said wisely. "Where you come from, Mr. Shiftlet?"He didn't answer. He reached into his pocket and brought out a...

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