Important Elements of Narratives
Even if The Welcome Table by Alice Walkers was written in a third persons narrative, she was still able to capture the interest of the reader in the way she intricately described her character, that there was almost no room for further interpretations from the reader. From the description, it was already very apparent that the woman in the story was a beggar, especially as her clothing was described as well-worn clothing and absence of cleanliness. From the way the woman was depicted in the story, one could not help but empathize with her. This is how well written the article was because as a reader, I still felt it like from a first person perspective.
The religious background of the author was also made known in the story, because there were a lot of morals inculcated in The Welcome Table. The main moral of the story is for us to never mistreat other people. She did this effectively as the perspective she was giving was from a person who was observing the woman. Nothing was really said as to how the woman felt in the story. Some of the observations presented in the story are others saw cooks, chauffeurs, maids, mistresses, children denied or smothered in the deferential way she held her cheek to the side, toward the ground, which can be directly connected to the feelings of the woman in the story, as well.
Basically, the story revolves around various life lessons with some touch of religious aspects. It teaches us to be always kind to the people who needs help. The woman in the story sought help from the church, and this can be closely compared to other people who have been homeless these days. Another lesson that can be derived from the story is to never judge the book by its cover, because every person that we meet might be going through a battle that we may not know of. The storys plot has also been strategic because it extends to the interest and lives of many readers. Every person, might have at some point experienced maltreating others, or being maltreated. With this, there is always a way for any reader to relate.
One strange thing I noticed about the story though is that its setting was not established sooner in the story. It was only when the woman went inside a church that the reader got a clearer idea of the setting. Before that, the woman was just depicted to be walking down the highway with Jesus. This kind of depiction could mean any other highway. Perhaps, the author intended it to be like that to prevent the readers from taking the story too literally, and instead encourage emotional engagement with it.
The symbolism used in the story were also significant help in allowing me as a reader to have a personal connection with the story. For instance, the appearance of the woman was very vivid for me as she was described to have aged blue-brown and skin that is poor gray Georgia earth. All of the color symbolism used in the story suggests so much hollowness. Besides the color symbolism, there was also a point in the story when the woman was known to be walking and talking with Jesus, although there was not a word from Jesus, himself. The story ended with no clear explanation of what happened to the woman, except for her death. This type of ending only supports the theme of the story, which is not to judge a person based on their physical appearance, and to always lend a helping hand whenever we can.
Generally, the Welcome Table is designed to have a third person perspective. But due to its effective symbolism and description, it still allowed the readers to still have a personal connection to the story. Further, the characterization, plot, setting, and plot of the story was able to build a very good foundation for the story, and aided in conveying the right message to its readers.
(Clugston R W 2010 Journey into Literature)Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into Literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.