Purpose and Pattern Analysis of “Salvation”
“Salvation” was written by Langston Hughes. The essay recounts the story of Hughes’s loss of faith. Hughes, who is “going on thirteen” at the time, attends a church revival with his Auntie Reed. He literally expects to see Jesus at the revival because the adults in his life have told him that he will see Jesus. Eventually, Hughes and Westley are the only two boys left on the “mourners’ bench” . Westley, tired and frustrated, lies and is saved, leaving Hughes alone on the bench. Hughes suffers a range of emotions, but he ultimately lies and says he sees Jesus. The cheers of “rejoicing” deeply affect him, and he cries alone in bed that night for the last time in his life . Hughes wrote “Salvation” using the expressive purpose and the narration pattern.
“Salvation” demonstrates expressive writing because it reveals values, emotion, selfdefinition, and subjective language. In paragraph two, Hughes expresses the values of trust and respect for his elders. He literally believes he will see Jesus because he heard his aunt and “a great many old people” explain that Jesus would come to him. He said, “It seemed to me they ought to know” . He also expresses the value of honesty. In paragraph fifteen Hughes reveals the pain he feels for lying about seeing Jesus. He stated, “I was really crying because I couldn’t bear to tell her that I had lied, that I had deceived everybody in the church” . In addition, the essay is rife with emotion. Hughes uses three exclamation points in paragraph two to emphasize his literal belief that he will see Jesus. In paragraph eleven he becomes “ashamed” of himself for making the congregation wait in the hot, crowded church for him to be saved. In the conclusion he struggles with his emotions because he can’t “bear” telling his aunt that he had lied. He stated, “I cried. I cried, in bed alone, and couldn’t stop. I buried my head under the quilts”. Along with values and...
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