What is salvation? Why is it important to young Hughes that he be saved?   

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Salvation, in the Christian sense, essentially means to surrender one's life over to God by repenting from sin and accepting God's son, Jesus Christ, as Savior from those sins. Hughes's short text by the same name depicts his experience as a child when he supposedly receives salvation.

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Salvation, in the Christian sense, essentially means to surrender one's life over to God by repenting from sin and accepting God's son, Jesus Christ, as Savior from those sins. Hughes's short text by the same name depicts his experience as a child when he supposedly receives salvation.

In the beginning of the story, it is made clear that Hughes wants to be saved merely to mollify the authority figures in his life. Hughes's aunt plays a large role in influencing the young Hughes, and she talks to him about the importance of salvation in a way that makes him believe in it and desire it for himself. He says, when he goes to the revival meeting at church with his aunt, "I believed her. I had heard a great many old people say the same thing and it seemed to me they ought to know. So I sat there calmly in the hot, crowded church, waiting for Jesus to come to me."

Once in the meeting, Hughes realizes that he doesn't feel any difference, nor does he sense that Jesus is "coming to him." So, rather than embarrass his family and the church as a whole, he gets up and claims to have found "salvation." The church responds by erupting into joyful chaos. Hughes relays, "Suddenly the whole room broke into a sea of shouting, as they saw me rise. Waves of rejoicing swept the place. Women leaped in the air. My aunt threw her arms around me." Thus, we have a story of a boy who is pressured by authorities, albeit unintentionally, to claim salvation.

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Salvation in Christianity means being saved from one's sins by accepting Jesus Christ as one's savior. Hughes has only a vague sense of what salvation means in the story "Salvation." His aunt has given him the idea that he will see a light and then will be united with God and that he will even be able to hear and touch Jesus. It is important for Hughes to achieve salvation because his family and the other church members seem to expect it of him. Hughes is the last one in the church who has not been saved, and his aunt and the other churchgoers pray for him to achieve salvation. Though he knows that he has not experienced salvation, Hughes decides to come forward as though he has, mainly to spare himself embarrassment and to please the people around him. He is not motivated by spiritual reasons but by the pressure of his family and friends, and, after this experience, he comes to doubt God's existence.

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Salvation is the act of being saved or born again in the Christian religion.  As a young man, Hughes feels the pressure to “see” Jesus when he and his other friends go to church to be saved.  Hughes is pressured by his aunt and other members of the church’s congregation to show that he has been saved.  Hughes tries and tries for it to happen, but it doesn’t.  Salvation is not something you can wish for or hope to automatically take place.  You must have deep faith in God and your religion.  At Hughes’ young age, he doesn’t understand that and becomes frustrated that it doesn’t happen to him like it does to the others in the church. In order to release the pressure he feels to be saved, he fakes it.  His family is thrilled by his act of faith, but that night, Hughes cries and is troubled by his lie and inability to find his faith. As readers, we can infer that this incident will affect Hughes views on religion for a long time to come.

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