The Welcome Table by Alice Walker
ENG 125 Introduction to Literature
I choose to analyze The Welcome Table by Alice Walker; this story is about an old, rundown black woman who staggers the necessary distance in the freezing cold to attend an all-white people church. The Welcome Table is told in the third person and shifts the point of view from which the story is told. The white people are at a loss when they see her near the entrance of the church and do not know what to do. Some people take her in as she is, an old black woman with a mildewed dress that is missing buttons. She is lean and wrinkled with blue-brown eyes. Her appearance makes some of the white people think of black workers, maids, cooks; others think of black mistresses or jungle orgies. Still others think that she is a foreshadow of what is to come - black people invading the one place that it still considered the white person's sanctuary, their church. They see her and transfer their fear of blacks onto her. The beginning of the story is told from the white people's perspectives as they see an old black woman come to their church and go inside. Inside the church, the point of view switches to the usher who tells the old black lady to leave. The point of view then switches back to the white women inside the church, who take it as a personal insult and feel the most threatened about the old black lady being at their church. They rouse their husbands to throw the old lady out. The perspective then changes to the old black lady. This constant changing of point of view is useful in that it portrays the fears, thoughts, and feelings of almost everyone in the story. Firsthand, the reader is able to know what the people are thinking and why. In the end, the point of view briefly returns to the white people who were at church that day. The story ends with the perspective of some black families who witnessed the old lady walking down the highway. The story starts on a Sunday morning at the steps of...
References: Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey Into Literature. Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
The Welcome Table" from In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black Women, copyright © 1970 and renewed 1998 by Alice Walker. Reproduced by permission of The Wendy Weil Agency, Inc
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