Langston Hughes Salvation Theme

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Langston Hughes short story “Salvation” epitomizes what is an internal struggle for many people, especially children, who want so badly to believe what they have been taught all their lives by their relatives, elders in the church and the preacher; that to have a relationship with God, you must be saved and only then will you be able to see him. Hughes’ Aunt Reed paints such a vivid picture of that idea beginning in the story’s second chapter: “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.” (Hughes) What happens though when what a child expects to occur doesn’t? Adults…show more content…
“Then I was left all alone on the mourners ' bench. My aunt came and knelt at my knees and cried, while prayers and song swirled all around me in the little church. The whole congregation prayed for me alone, in a mighty wail of moans and voices. And I kept waiting serenely for Jesus, waiting, waiting - but he didn 't come. I wanted to see him, but nothing happened to me. Nothing! I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened” (Hughes) In what is described as “mob psychology” ( Langston finally gives in to the insurmountable pressure placed on him and pretends to “go to Jesus” even though he is not convinced anymore that there is a real Jesus. He deceives his aunt, the preacher and church people as a way to save face. In other words he bends to pressure even though he isn’t ready to be saved. This leads to another theme in the story – sadness. He is heartbreakingly sad for not seeing Jesus and for lying to his aunt. “But I was really crying because I couldn 't bear to tell her that I had lied, that I had deceived everybody in the church that I hadn 't seen Jesus, and that now I didn 't believe there was a Jesus anymore, since he didn 't come to help me.
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