A Lesson In Metaphors – Сustom Literature essay

Sample essay topic, essay writing: A Lesson In Metaphors - 710 words

A Lesson in Metaphors'Salvation', by Langston Hughes is part of an autobiographical work written in 1940. The author narrates a story centering on a revival gathering that happened in his childhood. During the days leading up to the event, Hughes' aunt tells him repeatedly that he will be 'saved', stressing that he will see a light and Jesus will come into his life. He attends the meeting but when Jesus fails to appear, he is forced by peer pressure to lie and go up and be 'saved'. Hughes uses his story to illustrate how easy it is for children to misinterpret adults and subsequently become disillusioned. Adults sometimes forget that children communicate on a much more literal level than they do; their conversation is often sprinkled with metaphors that could have a very different connotation for a young person.

For example a child might easily misunderstand the phrase 'its raining cats and dogs' or interpret the words 'Holy Ghost' as an apparition with hollow spaces. It is easy to see, therefore, that Hughes understood his aunt in a far more literal sense than she had intended. It is quite likely that he really expected Jesus to walk into the room and that there would be a flash of bright light. The anticipation of an event is extremely emotional for a young person. A child's reaction to the night before Christmas is a wonderful example of their animated expectation. The atmosphere in the church on this particular night was highly charismatic and the room was alive with anticipation

Hughes was thrilled at the prospect of seeing Jesus and the rousing congregation reinforced his feelings. As time passed the congregation became more and more animated, wailing for Hughes to come up and be saved. Hughes became more and more impatient and extremely agitated. At the same time he must have been very curious as to why all the others were going up to the altar. During childhood we begin to learn the meaning of integrity.

Having patiently awaited Jesus' appearance for what must have seemed an interminable amount of time, the pressure on Hughes to get up and go to the altar must have been ponderous. Finally, when Jesus failed to make an appearance that evening Hughes had a choice of continuing to wait or rising and satisfying the expectations of the congregationIn making his decision to approach the altar, Hughes is fearful, as most children are when disobeying the 'rules'. Hughes' reticence in coming forward probably reflects his type of up bringing, and he watches his friend to see what punishment God will mete out and bases his decision on the fact that nothing appears to happen. In embracing his friend Westley's deception, in being saved without seeing Jesus, and because of his own up bringing, Hughes had to acknowledge his own dishonesty. Children trust the words of adults and despite the misunderstanding associated with the words his aunt used, Hughes believed her unquestionably. Later that evening when his aunt heard Hughes crying in bed, she assumed it is because he had been moved by his experience at church in receiving the spirit of the Holy Ghost; she was completely unaware that Hughes was, in fact, devastated by his experience and deeply troubled because he had lied. In succumbing to his own impatience and by pretending that he saw Jesus he was ashamed and felt that he had let his aunt and all the people in the church down. Experiences in our childhood, for the most part, dictate our way of life and beliefs when we become an adult.

Our personalities and value reflect our up bringing and teachings in childhood. In essence we learn what we can live with and what we can't. Hughes' experience with the revival when he was only twelve years old made quite an impact on him. He had reached a stage where he recognized that his ethics did not permit deception. Not only did he suffer the self-humiliation of his pretense but he felt that Jesus had disappointed him.

He had relied on Jesus to come and help him and Jesus had let him down completely. Having misinterpreted his aunt through no fault of his own, he was completely disillusioned and lost his faith in Jesus.

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