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Question : Read Hughes’ “Salvation” and Lorde’s “The Fourth of July.” Both are short “coming of age” stories about young African Americans. However, the similarities end there. Hughes focuses on the relationship between a young man and his church community. Lorde focuses on a young girl experiencing her parents’ reaction to societal racism. As usual, I just gave you the topic; now, you have to find the thesis. What is the point of the stories being told? Can you find a thesis that they both share? You should post (briefly) what you believe the thesis is for each of the individual essays. Then, use section 9.3 from your Argument Today reading from last week (the “Organizing and Drafting Your Narrative Argument” section.) Using one of the essays, give a brief (one or two sentence) explanation of how the essay follows this trajectory. For your convenience, here are the narrative elements from Chapter 9 Section 3:

  • Set the Scene: Describe the Who, Where, What, Where
  • Introduce a Complication: Disrupt the Scene
  • Evaluate the Complication: The Characters React
  • Resolve the Complication: The Characters Figure It Out
  • Offer a Lesson or a Call to Action: Explain What the Story Means

Rule 1 :You have to feedback their opinion with examples. (individually)

Rule 2: No plagiarism and citation.

Answer 1. The thesis of “Salvation” by Hughes is that “It is not right to force religious ideals onto children who do not fully understand them.” In the story, Hughes misinterpreted what his aunt meant by “seeing Christ”. Therefore, when he did not literally see him, he was forced to “lie” to the church about being saved. Later that night, in an ironic twist, he turns away from Christ because he went to the revival. His lack of understanding in what the elders meant led him to this conclusion.

In “The Fourth of July” by Lorde the thesis is that “in the mid 1900’s America it was normal to be segregated for ones race, which went against the ideology children were taught in school at the time.” This is explicitly shown when Lorde, as in child, expresses her confusion to her family about being kicked out of the diner, as they had done nothing wrong and in school she had been told that all skin colours were equal.

Comparing these thesis, the similarity is that what children are taught and what society/people expects of them are two completely different things. In both stories, the main characters are expected to understand a concept, even though they have not been taught or introduced to that concept.

In “Salvation” by Hughes, the author sets the scene by explaining how he went to a revival at his aunts church, and was sat at the front with all the children because he was not saved. The complication is that, due to his lack of understanding of Christianity, he does not think he is saved like the other children, so in the evaluation and resolution he lies to the congregation about being saved and later turns from Christ.

Answer 2. I believe the thesis of Salvation by Langston Hughes is religious indoctrination leads many people, especially children, to claim beliefs based solely on societal pressures.

Lordes Thesis:

The thesis of The Fourth of July by Audre Lorde is experiencing racism as a child on her family trip to Washington D.C. shaped her views of freedom, justice and equality in America.

Common Thesis:

A thesis that the two narratives have in common is the importance of influence that adults, and society in general have on younger people. In Hughes story, the elders in the church influenced some of the children to claim salvation because they were put on the spot in front of the whole congregation and felt pressured. In Lordes story, she touches on the fact that her parents quietly dealt with the consequences of racism and in turn she witnessed her two sisters following in their footsteps.

Narrative Trajectory:

Hughes opens up his narrative by setting the scene and describing the revival taking place at his Aunties church of which he was expected to partake. He introduced the complication, that he was put on the spot waiting for Jesus to come to him while the rest of the congregation prayed, sang, and waited on him to step forward. He evaluated the complication by offering his thoughts at the time considering the situation where the boy next to him lied and stepped forward just to get it over with. He evaluated the two options available to him: cave in to the pressure and lie to get it over with or remain honest and stay where he was. He resolved the conflict by eventually caving and joining the others in the congregation in salvation, and later admitting that this event led to him become a non-believer.