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Langston Hughes Salvation, A Response

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A Critical Response to Langston Hughes' Salvation

In Langston Hughes' Salvation, Hughes illustrates himself as a little boy, who's decisions at a church one morning, reflect the human races instinctive tendency to conform and in a sense, obey. That morning in church, Hughes is indirectly pressured to go up to the altar and "be saved" by seeing the light of god.

Hughes was a young and impressionable boy who wanted "salvation" and to see Jesus so badly that when he couldn't see Jesus and the others could, he found himself in a position of disappointing himself as well as others in his community. Hughes "saved" himself by pretending to see Jesus. He was saved not by his love for Jesus like the congregation had probably hoped, but instead by his desire to conform, obey and please. What would have happened if he did not step forward and claim to be saved ? Regardless, it is evident that he was frightened by rejection. Because of his fear of rejection, Hughes fell into his own trap of trying to please everyone, and instead met the needs of nobody because of his deception of all the other people attending church that day, not to mention himself.

In paragraph eleven Hughes says "So I decided that maybe to save further trouble, I'd rather lie too, and say that Jesus had come, and get up and be saved". Having said this, Hughes overlooked his own initial instinct so he would meet the expectations that the congregation had of him. This shows how even those who believe strongly in their gut feeling, will look past that just to conform or show "obedience". One can assume that at some point in time, most every member of society has done something of this nature. Whether done instinctive or consciously, this desire to conform and please others is an issue that each individual copes with on a personal level.




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