The Theme and Narrative Elements

The story of “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker (1970), theme tells the story of an old black woman name Clara Ward, who worked as a slave for the whites the majority of her lifetime, who knows the feeling or fears of being an aged black woman, alone and no longer had a use or a purpose in her life. I say this because it was mentioned at the beginning of the story, and mist of the story the whites were not accepting of her, and at the end the black saw her in the streets walking in the cold and offered her no assistance, Every story narrows a broad underlying idea, shapes it in a unique way, and makes the underlying idea concrete. That’s how theme is created. In other words, the theme in a story is a representation of the idea behind the story (Clugston, 2010). Points of view, Tones, settings …

The setting of this story seems as though it takes place during the progressive era, during the age of segregation or the end of slavery in the U.S. My knowledge of this was gathered when Clara stumbled into a white church, and the pastor of the church told her she was in the white church, and the message was also clear to me when she was asked by the usher with blond hair to leave the church, and told her she needed to go to “Your Church”. Alice Walker the author set the story up in a fashion that named jobs or roles the old lady played as a house slave, this was another view point of her from the white church people, the pastor of the church called her his aunt (she helped raise him), and the usher in the church called her grandmother (she helped raise him).

The old lady in the story began to fall ill walking in the cold weather, and she began to imagine an experience with Jesus; she sees the image of a Jesus who was white, the same image that was white, the same image that was on the picture she took from a white woman she use to work for (Clara hoped that Jesus would over look that). Clara had a vision of herself walking and talking with Jesus, who she loved and trusted all her days and she was able to tell Jesus, how the white people mistreated her, through her life, and shortly after she pasted on to heaven. The narrative expression in the story spoke of details explaining the old ladies appearance, the wording pictured her as poor, and did the best she could when it came to her appearance, and the narrator told the story as if we were in her shoes, making me as a reader to fill pity on the old lady.

The narration also expressed the fact that Ms. Clara the old woman was a former slave who raised a generations of white children, who grew to be adults and they still showed her little to no respect (underlying theme); Where they should have been very appreciative, but because this was a time of segregation in the United states, a time when the whites and blacks live separate lives. Clara still praised Jesus in the white church, the Jesus who she knows as white, she never lost her faith, but the white people in the church who knew her kicked her out of the church, they unknowingly contributed to her losing her life. Clara died in the same she was treated in life cold and alone. Reference:

Alice Walker (1970). The Welcome Table (Short story); Literary Cavalcade, Vol. 55 Issue 5, p32 Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into Literature. San Diego, CA. Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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