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"Salvation" Vs. "Reunion" Essay

916 words - 4 pages

Authors tend to have writing styles that set them apart from other authors. “Salvation” by Langston Hughes and “Reunion” by John Cheever are two short stories, both written by acclaimed authors, describing a life changing experience each author had at a young age. It may seem like both stories are completely different in every aspect. However, after analyzing both stories, it becomes apparent that they have plenty in common. Both stories are similar in terms of motifs and the use of dialogue, yet they contrast when it comes to the tone of each story.
First, both short stories have two similar motifs. In both Langston Hughes’ and John Cheever’s short stories is expectation and disappointment. Langston Hughes is expecting Jesus to come and to see the light that his aunt told him he would see once he is saved. In Langston Hughes’ “Salvation” he states, “I didn't believe there was a Jesus anymore, since he didn't come to help me” (643). Hughes is disappointed at the fact that he is expecting Jesus to come, yet he did not. John Cheever is expecting to have a great time with his father because he had not seen him in a long time. In Reunion when John Cheever sees his father he states, “I was terribly happy to see him again”. The use of the words “terribly happy” shows how excited he is to see his father and how he expects to have a great time with him, otherwise he would not be so happy. Once he does get to spend time with his father he feels disappointed, or let down because his father is not the person Cheever thought he would be. Even though both authors had expectations of something good occurring, their hopes are quickly deflated, which is why expectation and disappointment are two key themes in both stories.
Secondly, both stories use dialogue. The use of dialogue in both stories gives insight into the characters and their actions. After reading “Reunion”, the reader knows how rude the father is and why Cheever never sees him again after this meeting. It is clear that the father is acting in a way that makes his son not want to be around him ever again. The dialogue also gives insight to the why the workers at the restaurants reacted to the father the way they did. Without dialogue, the extent of the father’s ill-mannered behavior would be unclear, thus the actions of the restaurant workers would not be justified. In “Salvation”, although there is a minimal amount of dialogue, there is enough to describe the characters and their actions. For example, when Westley tells Hughes, “‘God damn! I'm tired o' sitting here. Let's get up and be saved’”(643), it gives insight into why Westley lies...

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