Personal Narrative Essays Page 4


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. I believed her. I had heard a great many old people say
the same thing and it seemed to me they ought to know. So I sat there calmly in the hot,
crowded church, waiting for Jesus to come to me.
Why is Hughes’ aunt significant to his story?
What is Hughes’ expectation?
Now it was really getting late. I began to be ashamed of myself, holding everything up so long.
I began to wonder what God thought about Westley, who certainly hadn't seen Jesus either, but
who was now sitting proudly on the platform, swinging his knickerbockered legs and grinning
down at me, surrounded by deacons and old women on their knees praying. God had not struck
Westley dead for taking his name in vain or for lying in the temple. 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.
What is Hughes’ source of conflict?
Why is Westley significant to Hughes’ narrative?
How does Hughes seek to resolve his internal conflict?
That night, for the first time in my life but one for I was a big boy twelve years old—I cried. I
cried, in bed alone, and couldn't stop. I buried my head under the quilts, but my aunt heard me.
She woke up and told my uncle I was crying because the Holy Ghost had come into my life, and
because I had seen Jesus. But I was really crying because 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.
What does Hughes’ crying reveal?
What is Hughes’ conclusion, and how does it relate to his topic?
What significance will readers find outlined in Hughes’ conclusion? How does this
central argument speak to a reality shared with his audience?
Analysis for Activity
1. What is the event Hughes shares? Hughes shares his experience attending his aunt’s
church at a time of great revival.
2. Where did this event take place? The revival takes place at Hughes’ aunt’s church.
3. When did this event occur? This event occurs when Hughes is twelve years old.
4. Why is Hughes’ aunt significant to his story? Hughes’ aunt sets up his expectation
for what it means to be saved. His aunt’s description of salvation is how he determines
if he is to come into the Christian faith or not.
5. What is Hughes’ expectation? Hughes’ expectation is that he will see the light and
feel something inside just as his aunt described.
6. What is Hughes’ source of conflict? Hughes does not see a light or feel anything
inside, which causes anxiety as he has a church audience expecting him to receive
Jesus. People are waiting on him to make an important decision.
Personal Narrative Essays, Spring 2015.
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