19 September, 2018
Salvation: An ironical and expressive story
“Salvation” is the third chapter in “The Big Sea” by Langston Hughes. The chapter covers a short autobiographical note from the author’s childhood about how he lost faith on Jesus. The story revolves around the time when Hughes was twelve years of age. There was a church revival at Auntie Reed’s church a night before the revival ended there was a special meeting for the children (Hughes 1). Hughes was convinced that he would see Jesus and be saved as this was what he had heard from not only Auntie Reed but also from all the other adults. At the revival however, Hughes and Westly are the only ones remaining on the “mourners’ bench”. After Westly lies and gets saved Hughes is the only one remaining, but he also finally lies and says that he saw Jesus. This experience affected him deeply, not only does he lose his faith on Jesus but also cries due to what had just happened with him. “Salvation” by Hughes has a dramatic plot irony due to the story line and an expressive style of writing as it is a first person narration.
“Salvation” has a situational irony in the story as more Hughes was lost in his thought process, the more people rejoiced of him being saved. As told by Auntie Reed and other elders at the church Hughes believed that “when you were saved you saw a
light, and something happened to you inside! And Jesus came into your life!” (Hughes 2). He believed them as they were old and knew more. On the other hand, what follows
next is sheer disappointment for him. Nothing goes as imagined by the little twelve year old as neither could he experience or feel Jesus in his soul nor see Him. Despite all the prayers by his aunt and other fellow congregants, Hughes did not see anything and started to feel ashamed of himself. Finally, he lies about seeing Jesus and stands up for being saved, the whole congregation rejoices. “Waves of rejoicing swept the place. Women leaped in the air” (Hughes 13). Even when the narrator cries at night about lying to everyone in the church and feeling guilty, his aunt thinks that he is crying as Jesus had come into his life. Little did she know that this experience had totally taken Hughes believes away, that he no longer believed in Jesus. This also sheds light on the religious hypocrisy that prevails in the society. There is also a verbal irony in the story; the title “Salvation”. The core purpose of the story was for Hughes to find salvation, but the way story is shaped by the trail of twists instead of finding salvation Hughes loses his faith from religion completely.
The narrator follows an expressive style of writing the story as it is filled with emotion, values and use of personal language. The story consists of words that bring emotions and feelings to it. This story serves as an emotional rollercoaster for the narrator and for readers. From the very beginning in paragraph two where he is...