In the reading Salvation by Langston Hughs, there are many different underlying themes. There is the thought that even though it may be safer to be non-confrontational, it is not always the best approach. The adults wanting the children to be saved, portrays this. Being “saved”, involves an inner peace that results in a faith in a higher power. People go along with the crowd, not being sure why. At the start of the story the churchgoers are trying to have the young children find Jesus, because they have sinned. The churchgoers are very enthusiastic about the children being saved. They intimidate the children into following the crowd.
The last two children sitting on the bench are very confused about what is exactly supposed to be happening. They think that they will actually see Jesus, Still I kept waiting to see Jesus. The one boy decides to stand up anyway. Then finally when the last boy cannot handle the pressure anymore, he stands up and finds Jesus. Later that night, he is the very upset with himself. The reason for him being distressed is due to the fact that he has just lied to himself, the rest of his family and the congregation by following something he does not actually understand. Lying itself, whether it be to yourself or anyone else, is a sin.
He does not seem to realize that he has sinned in front of the congregation, and has completely contradicted the whole point of being saved from your sins. Though he lied about seeing Jesus, he was never repremanded. He has now become under the impression that he will not get into trouble about lying, because nothing has happened to him. He ends up losing his innocence in the same form in which it was supposed to be given. It is important to Langston Hughes that he be saved. It is portrayed by his aunt and the fellow churchgoers that in order to live a life of innocence and purity, you must be saved.
The only way Hughes can find to fit in, is if he conforms. He wants nothing more than to live a life of truth, though he does not know where to begin his search. Hughes is ignorant in his decision making because he does not know his choices. Therefore, he conforms to norms of a religious society. When people follow the crowd, it is not always in their best interest. The little boy ended up being very upset by the outcome of the sermon and has probably never forgot what had happened. When people give in to the interests of others, they end up hurting themselves.
The boy should not have stood up at the end of the sermon, because he didn t believe that he was actually being saved. In the long run being your own person, with your own set of values and beliefs, is the best possible route to keeping your innocence and self-perspective. By giving into outer influences, you end up sacrificing your truths in life. Once you give up that belief, it is hard to believe in anything else. There is always a good solid background to form off of and this little boy just lost his footing. By not defending his own beliefs, he ended up hurting himself and others. He ended up conforming and giving into the crowd.