Appearance versus Reality
In the short story “Elethia”, by Alice Walker the concept of majority versus minority and appearance versus reality is discussed. In this story White America attempts to integrate Black America, but the African Americans do not wish to be integrated. This short story also toys with the idea that authority figures keep society blind and put them down because they have power. Walker uses the name "Elethia" for both the story's protagonist as well as the story's title. Through Elethia's words, actions, and reactions, Walker develops the theme of appearance versus reality, that what seems beautiful at a glance is not always so in reality. In this short story, Alice Walker first employs symbolism in the “character” of Uncle Albert, the “dummy of waxen skin and glittery black eyes” (Walker 28). This dummy which sits in the window of a white-only restaurant represents white America’s attempts to integrate African Americans into their society-without fully letting them into their “club”. This correlates with Albert Porter’s parents who were kept in slavery a decade even after it had ended. “He remembered that his mama and daddy didn’t know anything about slavery done ended for near ‘bout ten years, the boss man kept them ignorant of the law” (Walker 30). Also this relates to how Albert Porter’s master would “beat him severely to make him forget the past and grin and act like a nigger” (Walker 30). Thus the dummy represents the people in society kept dumb by their masters. This links to the concept of appearance versus reality: some blacks “appeared grateful to the rich man who owned the restaurant for giving them a taste of vicarious fame” (Walker 28). On the contrary, others are not as grateful: for example Elethia and her friends. “He was not a dummy, he was stuffed! Like a bird, like a moose’s head, like a giant bass, he was stuffed” (Walker 29). These revolutionists rebel and correct the injustices made by the restaurant owners by stealing...
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