Salvation by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes is known for his exemplary use of literary style to express ideas in a powerful and provocative manner. Hughes is known for his compact use of expressions which is usually expressed in his poetry to express packed and highly expressive ideas. Hughes uses economy of expression to express a very important period in his life which gives us great insight into a moment in his life. Through a very short story Hughes manages to give viewers a glimpse into his private life and his religious convictions (Smith and Buscemi, 2012). There are several reasons why Hughes makes use of economy of words in order to express his ideas on weighty matters.

Brevity in the expression of a very important happening in his life may be seen from the perspective of the writer’s attitude towards the event. By keeping it very brief the writer communicates a feeling that this is an event which he would like to dwell on since it is distasteful to him. Narration which would have been longer would have sent a wrong message such as making the reader attain erroneous attitudes towards the writer’s attitude towards this event. The writer in sticking to a very brief narration however packs a lot of emotion into the narrative by relating the happenings of his childhood very fast.

The brevity of the narrative has the effect of transmitting exactly the attitude that the author intends to transmit. Fort instance by the short descriptions of the characters that surround the character it becomes almost impossible to develop the character of the people in the story. The authors aunt and Westly are the only people who are described to some extent. The short descriptions given of the members of the church are intended to create in the reader a certain attitude towards them. Hughes describes the women as being old and the men as having work gnarled hands in order to create an impression that these were people that were not highly rated in society (Smith and Buscemi, 2012). The brevity in the description fails to give these people any character and as such their character is built by Hughes actions as the main character. Brevity also enables Hughes to concentrate only on one concept that he wants to portray; in this instance hypocrisy of religion.

A much longer narrative would have made the expression of Hughes ideas less powerful. A long narrative would have the effect of fleshing out the characters which might lead to the reader forming his opinions with regard to their actions. For instance a longer narration would perhaps go into detail on why the author’s aunt was so obsessed with the idea of the children seeing Jesus. Long descriptions such as these would perhaps have justified the actions of such characters and diluted the key idea of hypocrisy and fanaticism that the writer intends to convey to the reader (Smith and Buscemi, 2012). A long narrative of the happenings of the salvation would have sent a wrong signal to the reader that the author enjoys recalling his life experience which he does not.

A longer version of the story would also be subject to different interpretations on the main idea that the author intended to convey. Long narrations inevitably lead the writer to delve unintentionally into other aspects of the event that would take away the attention of the reader from the main idea that is intended by the author (Smith and Buscemi, 2012). For instance a long narration may lead to the reader developing a connection with the characters which may lead to sympathetic feelings which would make it impossible for the author to convey his \message using the particular character. The short and compact style therefore offers the best means through which the author can maintain control over the attitudes and ideas that he conveys to the reader.

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