Deen Kamara Professor English 101 10/21/2012 Analysis of Salvation Irony is one of the things that keep our daily lives a lot more interesting than expected. Having the exact opposite of your expectation happen. In Langston Hughes essay “Salvation” that’s exactly what took place. Hughes went to church with the intention of believing and being “Saved” and ended up being disappointed. At the age of 12 Hughes attended church with his aunt Reed.
Before going to church he was continuously told he would “see Jesus”, Hughes at the time took it literally and expected to “see Jesus” at the church revival. Hughes and Westley were the only two left on the mourners bench. Westley got tired of waiting to “see Jesus”, so he lied and was saved, leaving Hughes alone on the bench. After seeing that, Hughes lost belief and decided to go up to be saved even if he didn’t feel saved or saw Jesus. Everybody was ecstatic and “rejoicing” but all that affected Hughes and made him feel guilty for lying.
The main point of Langston Hughes essay is to tell us how is experience of being “saved” made him lose belief and disappointed in himself. With him lying about being “saved” when in reality he was just lying so he won’t bring shame on his family lead to him losing faith in Jesus Christ. Hughes used this to illustrate to the reader the effect an adult can have on a child who is not know what’s going on around them, and in this case Hughes didn’t know Jesus was going to literally appear in front of him.
He felt that the whole church was waiting on him to be saved, so since he was the last one on the mourner’s bench he got up and everybody was cheering and “rejoicing”. In the last paragraph Hughes tell us the pain and guilt he felt for lying in church and deceiving everyone about seeing Jesus. Hughes states “I was crying because I couldn’t bear to tell her that I had lied, that I had deceived everybody in the church” (Hughes, 181). In addition he also stated “I cried, I cried, in bed alone and couldn’t stop.
I buried my head under the quilts” (Hughes, 181). Hughes was so hurt and emotional that he had become a non-believe and he couldn’t tell his aunt about it; on top of that his aunt is tell his uncle that he was crying because “the Holy Ghost had come into his life and because he had seen Jesus” (Hughes, 181). The irony in this essay is that when people hear about church, religion or even the term “save”, either someone went through rough stretch in their life and religion made them a better person.
In Hughes case, he was told by his aunt and elderly women that he would “see a light, and something happened to him inside! And Jesus came into your life! And God was with him from then on” (Hughes, 179). Hughes actually believed every single word and at the end he was startled, lost belief and was an emotional wreck. The elders around Hughes also were irony in the essay. They pressured him into lieing about seeing Jesus after they all gathered around him and started preying and singing for him alone putting him in the spotlight.
Hughes story shows us the difference between two different generations. The elder women and his aunt did not expect Hughes to take it literal when they said “you would see Jesus”, when they said that it was more of spiritual, emotional. While Hughes n Westley were more literal believing they would actually see Jesus. But for Hughes instead of accepting it like Westley did, he got emotional and lost belief. WORK CITED Hughes, Langston, “Salvation”, 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Third Edition. Samuel Cohen.