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A Look at the Welcome Table by Alice Walker

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A Look at The Welcome Table by Alice Walker

Marie Edmund

ENG 125: Introduction to Literature

Danielle Slaughter

December 17, 2012

A Look at The Welcome Table by Alice Walker

There are many different genres of literature to choose from when deciding on a particular literary work to evaluate. However, The Welcome Table is a short story that deals with racism, hypocrisy, gossip, violence, and compassion. This short story is centered on an old woman who is seeking solace by attending worship services in a church that does not welcome her in spite of her persistence to be there. This rings true the statement that, "The idea that change and personal triumph are possible despite the odds is central to all of Walker's writing" (Adams, Blackmon, Norton, 2010).

In studying the various works presented in this week's text, I have chosen to use a reader-response approach to evaluate and analyze The Welcome Table by Alice Walker. Using a reader-response approach allows me to connect with the story and reflect on my feelings towards the old woman and the other characters in the story. In order to connect I had to read imaginatively and immerse myself in the story. Once that was taken care of I had to consider or analyze what I had read, and then draw conclusions or interpret what I had read.

This story captured my attention immediately as Walker described the old woman. The details that are given make it easy to form a clear picture of what the woman looked like and how others perceived her. Using metaphors, Walker describes her as a very old black woman with ashy gray skin "like the bark of old pines". Her clothing was musty, decayed, and stained. Despite the fact that several people spoke with her and asked her to leave the church, she was bound and determined to stay.

The members of the church she visited were clearly racist and looked down upon this old woman. They muttered things under their breath that you would not or should not hear from the mouth of a Christian. Even the Reverend and Usher boy asked her to leave and at this point in the story she is without a doubt, annoyed. Finally, it is the ladies (and I use that term lightly) of the church that convince their husbands to throw the old woman out of their church.

It is interesting to note that she sang happy songs to herself from the beginning of her journey but then in her bewilderment after being thrown out her happy songs turned to a sad song. This sadness was short-lived however, because Jesus came for her. She told him of her sorrows and how she had been treated as they walked and walked. Love and compassion was shown from one outcast to another until she



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