Moral Intelligence of Writers

Categories: LiteratureShort Story

Throughout many people’s childhoods they have been taught right from wrong. With this skill we use it throughout our lives to have strong ethical convictions and to act on them so that one behaves in the right and honorable way. People who weren’t taught this or choose not to use this skill don’t think about what their actions could do to the people around them because they only care about how they can get whatever they want however they’re able to.

In “The Life You May Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor makes significant use of imagery to express their meaning without lecturing or preaching to the audience. By doing so the author can use images of the “grotesque” to deliver her message with emphasis.

There are many factors that could play a part of people’s moral intelligence and if they have high moral intelligence or low moral intelligence. In the story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” Flannery O’Connor displays many characters who don’t have moral intelligence.

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For example, the mother Mrs. Crater wants Mr. Shiftlet to stay so he can fix the broken things around her house and she ends up bargaining with him and offers her daughter for marriage. In the text it states, “You want you an innocent woman, don’t you?… you and her and me can drive into town and get married”. (Page 5). By including this in the story the author is able to show how the mother does not care about her daughter and she thinks people are less important than things.

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It also shows that the mother does not seem to find it wrong to offer her disabled daughter to a stranger. Mrs. Crater has no moral intelligence because she knows what she is doing is wrong but still does it anyways because it benefits her the most than keeping her daughter with her at home. At the end she made used Mr. Shiftlet to fix up her house and got rid of her daughter to make her life easier.

In addition, from a young age many children are taught knowing right from wrong in order to make critical decisions during their lifetime. By teaching children this their moral intelligence heightens by making them take responsibility for one’s actions and the consequences of those actions is a validating trait of a person’s integrity. But some completely ignore this and use any means to get what they need whether it’s the right or wrong way to do it. For example, Mr. Shiftlet wants Mrs. Crater’s car by any means necessary. Mr. Shiftlet manipulates Mrs. Carter into giving him a car in exchange for marrying her daughter. In the text it states, “The boy bent over her and stared at the long pink gold hair and the half-shut sleeping eyes. Then he looked up and stared at Mr. Shiftlet. ‘She looks like an angel of Gawd,’ he murmured. ‘Hitch hiker,’ Mr. Shiftlet explained. ‘I can’t wait. I got to make Tuscaloosa.’ The boy bent over again and very carefully touched his finger to a strand of the golden hair and Mr. Shiftlet left” (Page 7). This shows that once Mr. Shiftlet got what he wanted he just left Mrs. Carter’s daughter at the diner because she was no use to him any longer.

Although many people were taught right from wrong there are still people who use people for personal gain and don’t care how they can achieve their goal. Flannery O’Conner’s point about moral intelligence is that people can find salvation and redemption in the most unlikely of places and how those places aren’t always good ones or ideal ones

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Moral Intelligence of Writers. (2021, Sep 15). Retrieved from

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