Reaction Paper Non Fiction ENG 125 September 24, 2012 Heather Carpolio Reaction Paper Non Fiction “Salvation” By Langston Hughes “My aunt told me that when you were saved you saw a light, and something happened to you inside! And Jesus came into your life! And God was with you from then on! She said you could see and hear and feel Jesus in your soul. ” ( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) Langston Hughes’ short story uses allegory to redefine the word “see”, when his aunt tells him hat he will see Jesus, Langston Hughes believes he will actual see the the bodily figure of a man appear before him. Still I kept waiting to see Jesus. ” ( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) Throughout the story Hughes plays to the irony of the church and the people around him writing that he was surrounded by sisters and deacons crying out in gospel tones begging him to come to Jesus and be saved at this moment the reader can not help but to succumb to Hughes’ appeal to emotion and the appeal to pathos for we all know what it is like to be in that moment where friends and family are pressuring you to except something that doesn’t make complete sense.
The whole congregation prayed for me alone, in a mighty wail of moans and voices. ( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) Langston Hughes’ aunt set out to give him a relationship with Jesus and a feeling of acceptance in the world around him, but unfortunately the only thing that being “saved” gave Langston Hughes was an understanding that religious belief must come from within, because even in our greatest hour of need the god to whom we have pledged our faith will remain unseen to our eyes.
Langston Hughes learned that it is easier to lie and be excepted than to question the motives behind others’ beliefs and what is known as the status quo in exceptable public behavior. So I decided that maybe to save further trouble, I’d better lie, too, and say that Jesus had come, and get up and be saved. ( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) Furthermore Langston Hughs’ appels further to the pathos connection with his readers by closing with the senaments that we all must bare our burdens for the better of society and family and protect others’ from our feelings of uncertainty and fears of rejection.
I couldn’t bear to tell her that I had lied, that I had deceived everybody in the church, that I hadn’t seen Jesus, and that now I didn’t believe there was a Jesus anymore, since he didn’t come to help me. ( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” written by Dr. Martin Luther King The second selection I have chosen to discuss this week is “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” written by Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. Martin Luther King wrote “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” during a time when he was sitting in jail for protesting against the people who would treat men of different color as less than equal human beings.
Dr Martin Luther King had a vision of unity and peace amongst the American people and wrote this letter to the people that would support him such as his fellow clergy men and church goers and to those who would dismiss them, the letter itself critiques the community of Birmingham saying that he is only in the town of Birmingham because the city had become a pit of injustice. Throughout his letter to the people he reiterate that it is the duty of the people to care what is going on around them and to stand up against injustice and those who would purposefully seek to cause harm to others.
Throughout the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. Martin Luther King uses many literary devices from an appeal to his authority and reputation by referring to his “fellow” clergy men at the opening of the letter to make sure that the letter would be viewed as a serious writing on a serious matter, then to appeal to the clergy men’s authority and in an appeal to their reputation he calls to them saying “you are men of genuine good will”( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) through this apeal to the clergy men’s ego he hopes to capture their respect and patience whilst he explains the importance of his work in the city of Birmingham.
Dr King clearly believed that he was in Birmingham for a purpose greater than himself and the church stating that “Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid. “( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) By comparing himself to the Apostle Paul who left his village of Tarsus to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world Dr. King uses a perfect example of the ethos in his writing to convey the importance of his mission in the town of Birmingham Alabama.
Dr. Martin Luther King goes on to make an appeal to logic stating that “Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. ( Barnet, Burto ; Cain, 2011) These were the hard brutal facts of the case, colored people were being mistreated and abused all over the country but especially in Birmingham Alabama during the 1960’s, and Dr. King aimed to fix the broken judicial system through protests and civil rights movements. “Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity. “( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) In his letter Dr.
King makes many appeals to faith and logic spouting in a prophetic way how he hopes that the people of the American nation will come together and share in the unity of brotherhood, and he ends his letter of hope in prosperity by saying, “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty. ” ( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011) A Resolve of Faith and Conflict
Both Hughes and King use many literary devices to convey the meanings of the nonfiction stories, in one story the reader is reminded of the difficult and confusing period of time where a person transitions from a child to a young adult and how difficult it can be to understand all of the social lies that must be upheld in order to keep the peace amongst family and friends, and in the other the reader finds a man writing to express his political views to the questioning members of society that would work to see his end and to crush the civil rights movement that would change the lives f the American community forever. Both stories use real life situations to move their stories and both stories have deep connections with the Christian church and the re-enforcement in the belief in a just and excepting god, but the first story written by Hughes remind us that faith in religion must come from within and cannot be sought out to have literal meaning, and the second story “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” asks readers to keep their faith in god and apply his ever loving grace to all member of the human species no mater the race or creed.
References: Salvation By Langston Hughes and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” written by Dr. Martin Luther King Barnet, S. , Burto, W. , & Cain, W. E. (2011). Literature for composition. (9th ed. ). Bloomington: Longman.