Salvation by Langston Hughes

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Salvation by Langston Hughes

In Langston Hughes' story "Salvation," the author describes his first encounter within the church in regards to him being saved from sin. At the young age of thirteen, Hughes is waiting to see Jesus appear before him -as a sign of a religious epiphany- but nothing seems to happen. In which case, he truly experiences religion for the first time in his life. Hughes adopts a sarcastic, mocking, and cynical tone because he suggests the church to be an ironic source of religious enforcement due to his personal encounter. The author refers to the children as “young lambs to the fold;” the extended metaphor is repeated through various paragraphs within the text by his aunt and congregation. This gives the reader a sense of how vulnerable and manipulative the church can be when religion is forced upon adolescents. They often question him asking, “Won’t you come? Won’t you come to Jesus? Won’t you come, lambs?” Most of the children immediately went up as soon as they were questioned; little girls even cried due to the preaching of the “dire pictures of hell, and…a song about the ninety and nine safe in the fold, but one little lamb was left out in the cold.” It was not until the constant begging that Hughes admits, to the reader, the falsity of his dedication to the church.  The diction of this childhood story is very awkward, repetitive, and negative. He describes his sarcastic yearning to see Jesus as he was “waiting, waiting-but he didn’t come.” Young Langston “..wanted to see Jesus, but nothing happened.” He wanted to “feel Jesus” in his soul, just as he thought he wound undergo. He believed it would have been a very magical experience, but reality exposed it as a figure of imagination amongst himself, and even one of his peers, Westley. The irony of the church is that, despite his family and congregation’s efforts to sway Hughes’s biblical beliefs towards the teaching of Christ, they peer pressured him into...
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