Understanding “The Welcome Table” One of the main focus points of all literary works is the theme of the story that is being read. To identify a story s theme you must look beyond what is happening in the story but look at what the story is really about. In this short paper I will be covering the theme of “The Welcome Table” and examples of certain elements of the story. Theme of “The Welcome Table” When reading writings of any kind you must try and understand what the story is really about instead of looking too much into what the story is being wrote about.
For lots of pieces of literature that was written in the era before the 1950’s when writers had an underlying meaning for their writings that weren’t noticed unless read closely. In the short story “The Welcome Table” written by Alice Walker, you see the plot immediately start when an older black lady is at the front steps of a white community’s church. The story is obviously written in a time when black people where thought to be unequal to white people.
Considering that the author of this short story was born in 1944 and growing up in a time when racism against black people was at the highest point. Throughout the entire story the theme is racism. Many of the people in the story saw the old lady as an invasion or maid, to the young usher telling the lady that this wasn’t her church. Then after the ladies in the church practically made the men throw this harmless old black lady out of a church, you could tell the theme had to be about race.
The tone throughout the entire story that these people had against this old black lady, was not necessarily hatred but of disgust. The women made their husbands grab this old lady and take her outside into the cold. I wasn’t like this one old black lady was there to hurt anyone of disrespect the white people in any way but to come to church. As we look father into the story after the old lady is outside she sets the tone for more of an uplifting tone. As she is standing on the front of the church in the cold singing a sad song, she sees Jesus.
As she is walking with him she is overjoyed and sings and uplifting song. Even though these people have disrespected her by kicking her out of a church, her faith is unbroken and she is doing as Jesus tells her to. Even though the story ends with the black families seeing her walking alone down the street, one can only think that she died somewhere and went to heaven to be with Jesus; almost like he was leading her there. There are many symbols in this story that can be referenced to many things.
The story seems to be written during the winter since there was reference to it being below freezing outside. Winter is closely related to Death, and for me I let my mind wander to the death of the old lady, even though the story did not say that, that is what I have come to the conclusion. One of the other major symbols I see in this story is when the old lady first saw Jesus. She kept looking to see if he was carrying the lamb, like in the picture that she had. The lamb refers to gentleness, and since they were at a white church, the white referring to life.
Even though the white people were so disrespectful to her and put her out in the cold she still kept her faith. See was ecstatic when she saw Jesus coming down the road, and made sure she got his attention so he would not miss her. Winter was there for the old lady and she knew it, so she went to the church to make her peace with Jesus and it just so happened that he was coming for her. Even though the white people were so cruel to her and the theme of this story is racism, the story also says don’t give up on what you believe even if it seems unrealistic. The old lady believes in Jesus, and the white people were not going to affect that no matter how they treated her.