What is the thesis or claim of the short story "Salvation" by Langston Hughes?

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In his short story "Salvation," Hughes presents us with a withering critique of performative nature of religion—in other words, the notion that religious language can somehow effect change in the world. Young Langston has been brought up in an environment where simply saying that a believer has been saved makes them saved. It doesn't matter that children like Langston don't actually experience any spiritual changes deep inside. What does matter is that they come forward and allow themselves to be declared saved by the pastor in front of the congregation. Once that very public pronouncement has been made, then that's it, salvation has occurred.

But of course that's not the case with young Langston at all. He never felt anything at all during what was supposed to have been a deeply-felt religious conversion. Instead, he simply went along with what everyone else was doing so as not to embarrass himself in front of the whole congregation. As such, his salvation, such as it is, is only...

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