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Langston Hughes “Salvation” Essay

“Salvation” is taking from the first of these , The Big Sea ( 1940 ), and written by Langston Hughes who was a brilliant author, poet who wrote fiction, history, autobiography, and he worked at various times as a journalist. You can clearly see in “Salvation” was taking time at South – country side. From the Title “Salvation” you can have a guess and you will be right if you were thinking about church, God and so on. -But not really saved?

-To bring the young lambs to the fold? -When you were saved you saw a light, and something happened to you inside -So I sat there calmly in the hot, crowded church, waiting for Jesus to come to me -The preacher preached a wonderful rhythmical sermon, all moans and shouts -Then he said: “ Won’t you come? And the little girls cried. And some of them jumped up and went to Jesus right away. But most of us just sat there -Nothing! I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened -Oh, Lamb of God! Why don’t you come?

-I began to be ashamed of myself, holding everything up so long. -So I got up -Then joyous singing filled the room -I was really crying because I couldn’t bear to tell her that I had lied, that I deceived everybody in the church, that I hadn’t seen Jesus, and that now I didn’t believe there was a Jesus anymore, since he didn’t come to help me. Langston Hughes recalls how he was introduced to religion and the church. He goes to say that at thirteen years old he was brought to his Aunt Reed’s church and was told that he needed to be saved by Jesus Christ. At the ceremony, while all other children went up to accept Jesus, Langston and another child named Westley remained seated.

At the congregation prayed and the priest sang psalms, Westley cracked under the pressure and went up to the altar, but Langston still sat. He had literally taken the phrase “ you will see Jesus” and felt bad about lying to the church because, after all, he had still not seen Jesus but was anxious to meet him. Finally, Langston came to the decision that it was getting late and one little lie about seeing Jesus couldn’t hurt. He then went to the altar and accepted Jesus. That night his aunt heard him crying and assumed that it was because he had come to terms with God, But Langston was crying because he felt guilty having to lie to everyone about seeing Jesus and he was even more hurt that Jesus never came to help him. At first, the piece seems to be about naive boy who believes that Jesus would physically appear in front of him. In deeper sense, however, it dives into a questioning of faith.

The story could be seen and a very common scenario among people having trouble with identifying there religious inclinations. Sometimes, there so much pressure put on people by their peers to choose a religion. These people often look for signs or aid from a higher power to help guide them. After receiving no signs or guidance, they renounce faith in God and Jesus and blame the higher being.

In Langston case; his aunt, the priest, and the congregation put tremendous amount of pressure on him to become a member of the church, instead of explaining to him that “see” meant to “understand” and “accept” that Jesus died to save him and give him eternal life. His aunt could have helped him by explaining that not physically “see “Jesus that evening. Instead, he felt alienated possible because this way first that he had ever known of anything having to do with Jesus or the bible, and he was not helped to understand what was going on.


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