How would you describe Hughes's tone in the two opening sentences?

Langston Hughes's tone in the opening sentences of "Salvation" is ambiguous, to say the least. He starts by telling us how he was saved from sin when he was going on thirteen. But then, in the very next sentence, he goes on to say that he wasn't really saved. This puzzling contradiction sets the tone for what's about to follow.

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Langston Hughes's tone in the opening sentences of "Salvation " is ambiguous, to say the least. He starts by telling us how he was saved from sin when he was going on thirteen. But then, in the very next sentence, he goes on to say that he wasn't...

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Langston Hughes's tone in the opening sentences of "Salvation" is ambiguous, to say the least. He starts by telling us how he was saved from sin when he was going on thirteen. But then, in the very next sentence, he goes on to say that he wasn't really saved. This puzzling contradiction sets the tone for what's about to follow.

The boy Langston has been brought to his Auntie Reed's church with other children during a big revival. It's hoped that the youngsters will be brought to Jesus and saved. But Langston's reluctance to rise from the mourners' bench—in fact, he's the last of the children to rise—indicates that all is not well with the boy's soul. The truth of the matter is that he hasn't seen Jesus; nothing has happened to him at all. He only approaches the platform and says that he has seen Jesus because it's getting late and he feels bad about holding everybody up. But it's all a lie, and he knows it.

That's what he means when he says that he was saved, but not really. Outwardly, in front of the whole congregation, it appears that he was indeed saved. But inside the deepest recesses of his soul, where it really matters, he wasn't saved at all, because he didn't see Jesus and, what's more, no longer believes in him.

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