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Salvation by Langston Hughes Essay

After reading the excerpt from Langston Hughes’s autobiography, “Salvation”, I pondered the many factors of religion and what makes a person believe in god or not believe in god. I believe that religion is a form of individual expression, and that each person should have the freedom to conform his or her identity to whatever religion feels right to that person, or even to conform to no religion at all. I think that if I had been in Langston’s position sitting on a mourner’s bench in his Auntie’s church waiting for Jesus to save me, I probably would have lied and said that Jesus had saved me. I would have done this mainly to forgo any further complications or opinions, just as Langston did after all of the other children had claimed that Jesus had saved them. Because I am not a believer in God, I could easily relate with Langston’s doubts about the existence of a Jesus in the closing sentences of this excerpt.

In the opening paragraph, Langston exhibits a calm and logical opinion towards being saved by Jesus. He does not display any fierce objections; nor does he exhibit any outbursts of excitement or anxious doubts. He seems to believe that Jesus will save him with the same cordial innovation as is later displayed when the other children are being saved. As the story progresses and Langston’s anxiety prevails he wonders when or if Jesus will ever in fact save him at all. While Jesus is saving all of the other children, I felt rather curious as to whether or not Langston would ever be saved. I wondered, while Jesus saved all of the children except for Langston, if these other children were in fact seeing Jesus or if they were lying so that the process of saving them from sin would proceed in a smooth and cordial manner. But as I read the closing paragraphs, my curiosity was met by an answer when Langston lied and assured them that yes, he had been saved by Jesus at last.

In the closing sentences I found it to be a little bit saddening how Langston could not relate the cause for his crying with anyone but himself and his ponderings. Langston explained how this was the beginning of his disbelief in the existence of a Jesus, because he had not seen Jesus in any material form and therefore could not believe in his existence. I thought that this was a very good, concise and complete story.

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