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The Welcome Table

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  • November 2011
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Theme of “The Welcome Table”
The Welcome Table, by Alice Walker is a story filled with religious symbolism. All through the story, the lady is slightly fazed by the pretentious and conceited congregation that is time after time piercing her with ridiculing looks of disdain. It is only by force that the men feel duty-bound to get rid of her by force. As it stands in this story traditional society is absolutely wrong yet unapologetic. Religion is the theme of this story. Still, while in the analytical process of this story one will notice that it has several symbolic analogies where a cycle of good, evil, and finally rewarded faith come to fruition. This story is enduring in the sense that it shows the reward of faith and the trials and tribulations of the faithful face. It is filled with symbolism of life and death; good and evil; love and hatred; and peace and anger. In the story, a black woman enters a “white” church. She is a woman of faith; “there was a dazed and sleepy look in her aged blue–brown eyes” (Clugston, 3.1, 2010) blue symbolizes a peacefulness that this woman has because of her faith. She is not a welcomed visitor to this congregation, though. The parishioners feel “a fear of the black and the old” (Clugston, 3.1, 2010), the use of the word black is not just to tell us the color of her skin, but to symbolize evil. This is further supported in the words, “many of them saw jungle orgies in an evil place” (Clugston, 3.1, 2010). The interesting thing about evil here is that it is not suggesting that the woman is evil. Rather, it is a symbol of what is in the hearts of the congregation. They are racists. They are unwilling to welcome her into their church. It is ironic, because they know this woman. The pastor may have called her “Auntie” and the usher may have called her “Grandma.” The use of these words symbolize a relationship with this woman, a relationship that they have outside of this church, but are unwilling to have inside of it....