The Welcome Table by Alice Walker ‘The Welcome Table’ is a fictitious piece by Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer and poetess. The story bears a strong adherence to the literary genre, the African-American Literature. It narrates the story of an old black woman, who epitomises the inferior possible of the socially degraded Blacks.
The story takes up the concept of the great divide in society---between the ‘Whites’ and the ‘Blacks’ and attempts to consciously evoke pity and empathy for the old black woman, who is looked down upon and left untended even in the harshest of conditions.
This piece of fiction, very clearly, does not simply narrate a story but provokes the thoughts of readers and questions the very fundamental ethics of the disintegrated society that one lives in, today. The story starts off with the old black woman entering the Church, that was meant for the Whites exclusively.
Thus, the theme of a societal divide and the concept of jeering racism is introduced right in the beginning of this literary piece. The white people do not know what their next step should be and their fears regarding the Blacks come back to daunt them.
When the old black lady sits at the last row of the Church bench, the Whites huddle up together in the front rows. Here, the authoress strongly establishes the divide between the blacks and the whites. What is more obvious and requires special mentioning, though, is this societal divide on the basis of race and colour, in the sanctum of Lord Almighty!
The whites see this as an intrusion into a sanctum that was meant for them, exclusively.
This establishes the fact that even in the presence of the all-powerful God, where human beings are considered His children, equal and irrespective of any segregating factors, the social divide had played havoc! Equality of all men is a religious connotation and this simply did not alter or impact the condescending attitude of the whites, towards the black woman.
This also highlights the extremity and the depth of the penetration of this social evil, that has crept into the lives of us humans! In addition to these societal, racist and religious facets to the story, one also encounters a humanitarian aspect, or rather the lack of it!
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