Salvation: Ritual and Hughes

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A look back at “Salvation” by Langston Hughes
Our story begins like many other stories with a setting, main character, and a catchy introduction. Like many other stories it attracts the reader’s attention with something vague, making the person reading the story want to continue on further into the piece. This reading is like many other’s which portray real life situations, and show a different culture coming from a first person point of view. In the story, the main character, Langston, is a young boy who seems to be going through a common religious ritual that is normally bestowed upon young people when they reach a certain age in what seems to be a different sort of society. At this age, young people are asked, or maybe better yet, told to believe in God, and only then will these children be able to achieve pure “salvation.” This is highly evident within the first paragraph where the author writes, “Then just before the revival ended, they held a special meeting for children, “to bring the young lambs to the fold”” (Hughes 1). It is during these ceremonies that Langston feels that he has almost committed a crime for which his sins will never be forgiven.

Throughout the reading, the author explains the process that these young children are put through during a ritualistic ceremony. The process according to the author is the path to righteousness, or the way to God. “My aunt told me that when you were saved you saw a light, and something happened to you inside! And Jesus came into your life! And God was with you from then on! She said you could see and hear and feel Jesus in your soul” (1). The last passage really tells the reader what the ritual entails, or what young Langston and his peers should and will be experiencing during this process to “salvation.”

The piece as a whole is very descriptive from the way Hughes talks about “wonderful rhythmical sermon” (Hughes 1), to the way he illustrates the people around then, their actions, and the...
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