Salvation - Langston Hughes

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Langston’s Lie
In his essay called “Salvation”, 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 the other children went up to accept Jesus, Langston and another child named Westley remained seated. As the congregation prayed and the priest sang psalms, Westley cracked under the pressure and went up to the alter, 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 alter 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 horrible having to lie to everyone about seeing Jesus and he was even more hurt that Jesus never came to help him. At a glance, the piece seems to be about a naïve, young boy who believes that Jesus would physically appear in front of him. In a deeper sense, however, it dives into a questioning of faith. The story could be translated to a very common scenario among people having trouble with identifying their religious inclinations. Sometimes, there is a world of 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’s case: his aunt, the priest, and the congregation put tremendous amounts of pressure on him to become a member of the church. He looked for Jesus and when he never came, Langston renounced his faith by saying, “…and now I didn’t believe there was a Jesus any...
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