The Welcome Table

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The Welcome Table
Nadine Robinson
Eng 125 – Introduction to Literature
Instructor Mirranda Saake
May 2, 2011

Electing the short story “The Welcome Story”, by Alice Walker (1970) for me was an easy choice for me to write a critiqued essay about. I am using a reader response approach in my critical essay. I like this approach because of the initial dedication to her sister Clara Ward, “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 statement indicates that the old woman in the story is a spiritual woman and is looking forward to her day of meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Welcome Table story was intriguing to me because the author describes the old woman as one who does not have emotional ties with the people around her, is alone, and does not have the luxuries of life that one would expect for a woman of her era in today’s time. The one luxury and seemingly the most important one anyone could ever have is her closeness with Jesus and the luxury of knowing that her time is here for her to join him for eternity.

It is apparent the pain the woman has endured through her life just by the description of the condition of her body “beaten by king cotton and the extreme weather”, the condition of her clothing items “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 many oily pigtails underneath”, and the emptiness conveyed by her to the outsiders “a dazed and sleepy look in her aged blue brown eyes.”

The old woman has closed herself off to the people of the church, as she enters the church and the reverend addresses her as “Auntie” yet attempts to discourage her from entering the church. How can one be a family member possibly biologically and a relative of the reverend of

a church and still be turned away by the reverend himself? That seems to be...
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