“The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker Essay Sample

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Alice Walker who wrote “The Welcome Table” had issues of race and gender that was the center of her literary work and her social activism. She participated in civil rights demonstrations. (Clugston 2010). This short story has a theme of life and death. It shows the plot of the story, the point of view and has symbolism used to show the death of the old woman and what the church members thought of her as a black woman. (Clugston, 2010, Section 7.1 and 7.2) Later in the story, she is walking up the road with Jesus, who came to get her and take her to The Welcome Table that she always spoke of. The theme of this story is about the life and death of an old black woman who looked for Jesus her whole life and finally, he came for her to take her home. (The Theme in a story is defined as the idea behind the story.) (ibid, section 7.1) The plot (which tells what happens in a story) is describing how the people in the church treated her when she was alive and as it describes her by using symbolism (something that has a literal identity but also stands for something else). (ibid, section This story is written in a genre of prose and the point of view is third-person omniscient.

My connection to this story is emotional. As I read about the old woman’s appearance and the way the people of the church treated her as she sat on the church steps. I felt her feelings of helplessness and humiliation as if I was there. They would say bad things to her as she sat there. They even had the reverend of the church tell her she did not belong there. Still she would not move. Some of the ladies’ husbands went and picked her up and actually threw her out of the church into the freezing cold weather. (Walker, 2003) My feelings were heightened in the story because of the omniscient point of view I was able to finding out before marriage if their women are barren. The child’s light skin, however, reveals who the father really is.

Although Njabulo knows the baby is not his, he treats the child as his own and buys things that the baby needs. When Paulus comes to visit he learns that Thebedi has married and has a light-skinned child. He panics about the child and goes to visit Thebedi. When he sees the baby he knows that it is his because it had “his own hazel eyes”. He then asks her to give the baby to someone else to raise, “Don’t take it out. Stay inside. Can’t you take it away somewhere? You must give it to someone—” but she does not want to. Two days later, he goes back to Thebedi’s and ask to see the child again. Waiting outside the hut, Thebedi hears soft groaning sounds, and that night the baby.

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