1. The main point of Hughes’s narrative is to describe how his experience of being “saved” only caused him to be disappointed in himself. This also results in his lying to the church and his feeling of guilt for doing so. The “saving” of Hughes eventually leads to his loss of faith in Jesus Christ. This just shows the reader how the pressure that an adult can have on a child causes so much damage to the infant who is not aware of what exactly is going on.
2. Hughes finally decides to get up after he grows impatient for waiting on Jesus to come to him and save him. He felt that since he was the last one on the mourner’s bench, the whole church was just waiting on him to be saved. Hughes’s didn’t want to hold everything up so long and he began to feel ashamed of himself for doing so. He also believed that if God had not punished Westley for lying to the church then he should lie too. This has a great affect on him afterward when he realizes what he had done. Hughes’s was feeling guilty at the fact that he had lied to everybody at the congregation, making them believe that he had in fact seen Jesus. This really brings him down and causes him to cry. This all results in his belief that Jesus in fact does not exist because he did not help him.
3. The title basically lays out the topic of the narrative to the reader. The first two sentences allow the reader to see that the narrative is something that is going to be contradicting of itself. Later as the story follows, one is able to see why Hughes’s would lay out such opposing ideas: the fact that Hughes was meant to be saved, but in his heart and mind, he never was, even though everybody else believed so. Hughes is saying that salvation was not what he was expecting it to be. In the end it all is up to the person and how they interpret this notion of salvation.
Purpose and Audience
1. Hughes’s probably wrote “Salvation” as part of his autobiography more than two decades after the experience because perhaps at an adult age he was able to fully understand what it was that happened in that event of his life. His purpose was simply to express his feelings by this significant even in his life. He was not at all trying to criticize his aunt and the other adults in the congregation. He was simply explaining the distance of the generations and how they differed in their way of thinking of certain concepts and things. This is shown when Hughes’s and his aunt have a difference in thought about what is expected from a “salvation.” “And I kept waiting serenely for Jesus, waiting, waiting-but he didn’t come.” Hughes’s (the younger generation) literally wanted to see Jesus and was expecting him to come to him. On the other hand his aunt (the older generation) thought that Hughes’s was crying “because the Holy Ghost had come into my life, and because I had seen Jesus.”
2. Hughes’s assumes that his readers are familiar with a charismatic church. Where there is “much preaching, singing, praying, and shouting,” “rhythmical sermon, all moans and shouts and lonely cries and dire pictures of hell,” “sea of shouting,” “women leaped in the air,” and “few ecstatic ‘Amens.’”
3. The dialogue and the details of the sounds recreate the story of the event in the readers mind. This way the reader is able to put himself in Hughes’s shoes and get to feel the pressure that was being put into the situation. With the dialogue the reader literally connects with the story having this sense of understanding as to what the author was going through, almost feeling as if the dialogue is meant for the reader himself. The recreation of the sounds help to put the reader in the setting that the author was put in, envisioning the reader and surrounding him with the environment that Hughes’s was in at that time. All of this contributes to the strong feeling of attachment between the reader and the author. The things that add to the pressure is the repetition of the question “Why don’t you come? Why don’t you come to Jesus?” This adds to the frustration that Hughes’s experiences when he can no longer wait for Jesus, since he feels that he is “holding everything up so long.” Also the pressure intensifies when he becomes the last one on the mourner’s bench, the last to be “saved.”
Method and Structure
1. I think Hughes’s chose narration because it was his way of really putting down his feelings and emotions just as they were the way that he had experienced them. This would add to the credibility of the story and the effect that it would have on the reader based on criticism, due to the fact that this dealt with a argumentative topic: religion. The title could have been “Interpretations,” because it all had to do on how Hughes’s interpreted “salvation” and how other people of the church interpreted it as well.
2. Hughes mostly summarizes events after Westley is saved and the events that happened right after the service was over. He doesn’t go into much detail about the emotions of the people and their reactions when Westley claimed to be “saved.” After Hughes’s was saved, he ends that event with “…all the new young lambs were blessed in the name of God. Then joyous singing filled the room.” Right after this he goes right into, “That night…” This idea of summarizing takes away from the importance of the events to the story. Clearly one can see that the description of such events weren’t critical to the point of the narrative.
3. Hughes uses signal transitions: “Going on thirteen,” “for weeks,” “then just before,” “for days ahead,” “then,” “still,” “finally,” “now,” “suddenly,” “when things quieted down,” and “that night.” These signal transitions are used throughout the essay, mainly at the time of the “salvation.”
4. The process analysis of the understanding of how a revival meeting works is critical to the essay. Without this piece of information a reader who is not known with such things would not be able to connect with Hughes’s due to the lack of knowledge of such an event. The reader has to be acquainted with the material that he is reading to even gain a sort of relationship with the author. The fact that Hughes did lay out the process set a ground for the reader to connect to the story.
1. Hughes’s language reveals that he was writing this story as if he were still a child, holding on to the feelings and thoughts of that time. During the time of the event, Hughes’s felt more confused and frustrated because Jesus would not come to him. He was beginning to feel afraid that Jesus would not come. “I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened.” Towards the end of the story this all changes to feelings of guilt, disillusionment, and sadness. “That night…I cried.” “I couldn’t bear to tell her that I had lied…and that now I didn’t believe there was a Jesus anymore, since he didn’t come to help me.”
2. The effect of the short sentences and the beginnings of the sentences with the word And, emphasize the idea of this being a child. This allows the reader to truly feel as if a child were telling the story, which would take the reader back to that time that event took place. Overall, this adds to the credibility that the story is in fact that of a confused and vulnerable child.
3. Hughes thought that when his aunt explained to him that he would “see” Jesus, he expected to literally “see” Jesus in flesh and blood like any other human being. His aunt and the other members of the church viewed the “seeing” of Jesus as something more spiritual and mental, feeling a close connection with God through their body and soul. The significance of this in Hughes’s story is the difference of perception between the two generations. Children take things literal, while adults take things more into consideration dealing with emotions, feelings, and thoughts.