Salvation, written by Langston Hughes is an essay, where he retells an experience concerning religion. “I was saved from sin when I was going on thirteen. But not really saved.” It is an experience that will impact how he deals with religion in the future. The beginning of the essay has a tone that makes the reader feel excited, curious and hopeful. In the end, the tone makes the reader feel disappointed, guilty and a non-believer. A revival that gains momentum for weeks is a climatic flatline for Langston leaving him an agnostic.
A curious Langston is told that great things will happen at a revival at the church of his Auntie Reed. She tells him that he will experience “something on the inside” and will “see the light”. He has heard others talking about similar experiences and he does not feel the need to question his aunt. At the revival the children will be called to seek Jesus and Langston is hopeful. The children are called up and Langston sits on the bench waiting for Jesus to reveal himself. He waits and waits. The number of children left on the bench has dwindled to two. Langston is one of the two children left sitting on the bench. The other child decides he will meet Jesus just to get things over and done but a hopeful Langston waits.
Langston never sees Jesus. He is the one holding up the congregation and he can no longer compete with the pressure. He decides to join the “young lambs” at the altar. The congregation is relieved. They no longer need to worry about one of their flock getting lost out on his or her own. However, the once hopeful Langston feels disappointed and betrayed.
Langston is disappointed that Jesus did not come to his aide when all eyes were on him. He needed Jesus to show himself and that did not happen. Langston escapes his situation by pretending to go to Jesus. At home his guilt leaves him sobbing not because he had experienced "Salvation" but instead damnation. “That night, for the first...