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Salvation--Langston Hughes

             Growing up, we are faced with many pressures. Many of the pressures may give us an uneasy feeling and result in poor judgements or decisions. If there is reassurance of a fulfilling outcome, we are more likely to go along with it in hopes of bettering our own life. When things do not go as planned, we are let down and sometimes left feeling lost and confused. In the essay, Salvation, Langston Hughes is recalling how he gave into conformity at a church revival and in turn, found himself feeling both frustrated and disappointed.
             The onset of frustration began when Hughes' Aunt Reed wanted him to conform to Christianity. Hughes, tired of his aunt nagging about going to a revival to be saved, finally went along with her to be saved at church. As he sat at the mourner's bench he became disappointed in himself; he was not seeing the images nor feeling Jesus within him as his aunt had explained it to him. He was told that when he was saved he would "see a light, and something would happen to him inside! And Jesus would come into his life! And God would be with him from then on!" (209). This scenario was emotionally straining on him because he was promised that he would see Jesus and he was not seeing him in that manner. It seems as if Aunt Reed served as a role model for Hughes; he wanted to be just like her. The harder he tried to be saved the more disappointed he became because his hopes of conforming were let down. Clearly, Langston Hughes did not want to simply step into other's beliefs; he actually really wanted to see Jesus come into his life. .
             Wesley, another boy at the bench, also put the pressure on Langston Hughes to be saved. Although Wesley had not truly seen Jesus, he was tired and it was getting late, so he got up to be saved. This left Hughes all alone on the mourner's bench, and he began to feel the urge to follow in Wesley's footsteps. He had noticed that "God had not struck Westley dead for taking his name in vain or for lying in the temple" (210).