The Welcome Table

Analysis of The Welcome Table
Kelli Paulson
Ashford University
ENG125: Introduction to Literature
April MacGrotty
October 22, 2012

Alice Walker brought to the mind’s eye the view of racism, segregation, cruelty, hostility, and perhaps even the truth that churches spout the love and acceptance of God yet practice little of it.   The reader of The Welcome Table is made quickly aware that the old woman in the story is not welcome, wanted, accepted, or even tolerated in this building where people have gathered to worship God.   She is instead thrown out, not so ceremoniously, and cast aside.   But that did not stop her from seeking her God, seeking her reward, seeking her rest and solace, and in the end that is what she found although it left those who knew her wondering.  
This story tells us of an old woman whose hard labor had taken its toll on her body.  
”Her elbows were wrinkled and thick, the skin ashen but durable, like the bark of old pines. On her face centuries were folded into the circles around one eye, while around the other, etched and mapped as if for print, ages more threatened again to live.” (Clungston, 2010) There was little to no doubt about the type of work she did, it was evident in the way she dressed, walked, looked, and talked.   However, there was also speculation based on stereotyping involved as well, misunderstandings of the practices of her people and in some cases, just plain ignorance.   We are told that “Many of them saw jungle orgies in an evil place, while others were reminded of riotous anarchists looting and raping in the streets.” (Clungston, 2010) And yet none of those things deterred her, she traveled on to the church despite the fact she knew she didn’t belong and people would not understand.   She kept her eyes affixed to the cross on the steeple and made her way, unsteady as it may have been, to the one place where all should be welcome.  
Being unwelcome in the church did not seem to faze the old woman as we can see...