Theme and Elements of a Short Story

Topics: Fiction, African American, Black people Pages: 2 (700 words) Published: February 18, 2013
The literary piece I chose for this assignment is “The Welcome Table: by Alice Walker. The story is told using a third person omniscient point of view. The story is told beautifully with its detailed imagery, irony, ambiguity, and symbolism, which capture the reader’s attention from the start. The narrator’s use of imagery in the description of the characters and the setting gives the reader a clear picture as the story unfolds and the theme of racism is introduced. Walker weaves a tale of racism, redemption, and reminds us that in God’s eye everyone is equal.

The narrator begins the story with an intricate description of an old black woman walking towards a church, dressed shabbily, here is a quote showing how detailed the characters are described, “high shoes polished about the tops and toes, a long rusty dress adorned with an old corsage, long withered and the remnants of an elegant silk scarf as head rag stained with grease from the many oily pig tails underneath” (Clugston, 2010).

When the old woman arrives at the steps of the church, the members of the church begin to gossip and whisper unkind words. At this point the narrator adds his first of many comments to what he believes to be unjust actions towards the old woman for example; the revered from the church says to the old woman; “Auntie, you know this is not your church?” this is ironic and the next quote says as much when the narrator voices his opinion; “As if one could choose the wrong one.” (Clugston, 2010 p. 3.1). The comment from the narrator shows the irony of the situation and also conveys his opinion of how unjustly the congregation is treating the old woman. The narrator’s personal comments after a particular cruel act are helpful in setting the tone and emphasizing the stories theme of racism.

Walker use of irony in the story to clarify her message as shown in this quote from the “The Welcome Table;” “It was the ladies who finally did what to them had to be done” (WalkerAs the story...

References: Bauer, M. D. (1992). Alice Walker: Another southern writer. Studies In Short Fiction,
29(2), 143.
Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from
Smith, F. (1992). Alice Walker 's redemptive art. African American Review, 26(3), 437.
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