Literary Themes and Elements
January 14, 2013
The theme of a short story is the idea behind the plot of the story. In other words, it is not the actual events that happened throughout the story, but what the story is telling you. There are certain aspects that enhance the theme such as the elements of the story. These elements include but are not limited to the setting, the point of view, and symbolism. “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker (1970) communicates to her readers how religious faith prevailed against the racists views of others while using certain elements to contribute to her theme.
The setting of a story is where the action took place which initially attracts the reader’s imagination which is an important element to a short story (Clugston, 2010). Walker utilizes the two settings in her short story “The Welcome Table” (1970). She employs the setting of a church where most of the conflict takes place. For example, Walker defines in the first paragraph how the elderly woman is sitting on the church steps as people thought negative of her. Walker also describes in the fourth paragraph the gray with age woman stepping into the vestibule and the reverend telling her that it was not her church. In the eighth and tenth paragraph, she uses the gray highway and the elderly women’s dilapidated house as the second setting in her story. Walker’s settings in her short story establishes the theme by showing how important it was for the old woman to be close to Jesus and how she lived so poorly.
Another important element is the point of view and Walker writes her story in the third-person omniscient (all-knowing) point of view. This point of view enables the external narrator to know and to relate the thoughts and feelings of all the characters in the story (Clugston, 2010). Alice Walker, the author of “The Welcome Table” (1970), expresses this technique with the main character, the aged lady, along with the...
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