English 125 Introduction to Literature
Professor Peter Kunze
August 27th, 2012
Alice Walker’s, The Welcome Table, and Nadine Gordimer’s, the Country Lovers, are both short stories that deal with the moral and psychological tension of a racially and divided setting and environment among the black and white race. Walker and Gordimer point out the hypocrisy and injustice of racism in these two particular stories told in third–person omniscient point of view. Each story is written in a way that the reader is able to pick out its individual quality in different ways with very different emotional effects. The Welcome Table and County Lovers, each protest racism while exposing the tragic human consequence of our society then and now. However, they differ partly because of the context within which each story was written, but also in the way that they are written along with their overall emotional impact on the reader’s imagination and understanding of what each of them is feeling or trying to express within the story itself. “All History is current; all injustice continues on some level, somewhere in the world”—Alice Walker, black writer (Nguyen, Tram). Walker’s story is set in the United States in the post-civil rights era, but as she does in a lot of her short stories from that time, she concerns herself with the plight of the older and rural African-Americans who have been unable to take advantage of the freedoms gained by the civil rights movement and who are condemned to a life governed by the legacy and bondage of slavery. Walker, in spite of desperate circumstances of the African-American people sought to see faith and faithfulness in all that she wrote. She wrote in a less directive fashion in which the reader had to discover her themes as they read. Some authors just wrote stories that demonstrated our folly in polluting the environment. Walker wrote stories that encouraged people to take a closer look at the world around them and how they could benefit from cleaning up their act and attitudes about one another to make it a better place live in. “Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter (Gordimer, N)”. Gordimer’s story was written in South Africa under the iniquitous apartheid regime which used the law and the apparatus of the state to impose appalling living conditions on all non-whites living there during that time period, while preserving wealth and economic and educational opportunity for the exclusive and white South Africans. The Immorality Act of 1950 is highly relevant to an understanding of Gordimer’s story. The Act made sexual relations between people of different races an illegal act. Gordimer has an intentional directive way of writing and getting her feelings across to her readers. As the reader embodies his or her mind around the message in which the author is expressing herself intellectually and not always emotionally, they find themselves embroiled in the meaning of what she is saying. Her characters give us a view at the world from a very different era, time, and place. These two authors share and allow the accumulative effects of symbols, plots, and settings that tend to lead the careful and observant reader into a dialect of extraordinary measures of themes. These themes in contrast, seem to just pop off the pages into the minds of the reader that help with broadening the consumption of life’s experiences from within the imagination. So much so, that by the time you are done reading, the story will eventually become an amplification of various themes that will be explained and told to others in a thousand different ways. Alice Walker’s The Welcome Table, she tells us a story about an old black woman who travels to an all-white church in the freezing cold content on praising and worshiping...