Discrimination and Racism in Country Lovers and the Welcome Table

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Discrimination and Racism in Country Lovers and the Welcome Table Donna Robertson
ENG 125: Introduction to Literature
Lyndsey Lefebvre
November 18, 2012

Discrimination and Racism in Country Lovers and the Welcome Table Racial discrimination has affected black people of the United States as well as Africa for many years. Although racial discrimination is against the law in both countries today, many people believe that it still exists. This essay will compare and contrast the racial theme of the short stories “Country Lovers” written by Nadine Gordimer and “The Welcome Table” written by Alice Walker. Both of these short stories share the same theme, which is centered on racism, but the theme is not limited to racism it also includes love, hardship, rejection, and death. They have many similarities as well as differences that will be explored in this essay. Both of these literary pieces give the reader awareness of the pain and suffering endured by the two black characters that were subject to racial discrimination and the superior mentality of those that participated in the discrimination. Discrimination and racism is the core issue in both of these short stories. A similarity of both short stories is that the narrator reveals the characters through observation which means both stories are told in the third-person omniscient point of view. For example, in “The Welcome Table”, the old woman stood with eyes uplifted in her Sunday–go–to–meeting clothes: 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 pigtails underneath. Perhaps she had known suffering. There was a dazed and sleepy look in her aged blue–brown eyes. And in “Country Lovers”, the farmer's son was home for the holidays she wandered far from the kraal and her companions. He went for walks alone. They had not arranged this; it was an urge each followed independently. He knew it was she, from a long way off. She knew that his dog would not bark at her. Down at the dried–up–river bed where five or six years ago the children had caught a leguaan one great day—a creature that combined ideally the size and ferocious aspect of the crocodile with the harmlessness of the lizard—they squatted side by side on the earth bank. Since both stories are written in third-person omniscient point of view the reader is able to us their imagination to escape the setting of both stories, which enables them to identify with the characters in the stories.                 Both of these literary pieces are similar because the tone sets the stage for racial discrimination in both stories. According to Walker, (2003) The old lady in “The Welcome Table” sings a spiritual song “I'm going to sit at the Welcome table Shout my troubles over Walk and talk with Jesus Tell God how you treat me One of these days”! This song enhances the reader awareness to acknowledge that the old lady knew she had been mistreated for many years and she longed for the opportunity to tell God how much the white people had mistreated her on earth. In the story “Country Lovers” the author writes, “The farm children play together when they are small, but once the white children go away to school they soon don't play together any more, even in the holidays”. This quote directly exposes racism because while the children are small their innocence has not yet been exposed to the differences between the two cultures and as they grow older, interaction between the two is forbidden. The racism in this story is subtle; nevertheless, as the children grow older, they are not allowed to interact with each other because their society believed that as young adult it was inappropriate to maintain any type of relationship. In the story “The Welcome Table” the usher tried to stop the old black woman in the vestibule before entering the...
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