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Yesterday: the Color Purple and Welcome Table

For my week one assignment I choose to write about “The Welcome Table” (Walker, A) 1970. What first captured my interest in this short story was a poem listed before the story, the poem was called “For my sister Clara Ward” by (Walker, A) 1970 “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 short story and poem reminds me of going to church with my great grandmother and grandmother. At that time I didn’t realize how precious it was to have them around.

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I took for granted having dinner every Sunday after church with those two wonderful ladies, sometime we would have conversations about Jesus and life for hours and hours as we sat around the table. Today I wish they were still here to help guide me through hard times. I find myself walking with my eyes closed listening for their voices for some kind of spiritual direction. Reading “The Welcome Table” allowed my mind to connect with my imagination to what Alice Walker was expressing to the world, and to the readers.

The story focuses on an elderly woman’s life, and after she had worked for many years in many different households, she knew her life was soon coming to an end. Though she felt her life would soon be over her inspiration and focus was looking forward to having a talk with Jesus at the welcome table.

The welcome table I believe is a metaphor for when she reaches heaven, she will be able to talk with her savior. In her final days she choose to attend a church to worship and praise Jesus, unfortunately because she was unfamiliar to the parishioners of the church she was not allowed to continue her worship and she was escorted out of the church, from there the author tells how this elderly woman walked away with her head up and eventually on her journey met with the Lord and he took her home. I was asked to describe one of the analytical approaches outlined in Chapter 16, using details from the text to support your interpretations. I chose to use a formalist approach in my critical essay.

1- The setting for is short story was based on inter-racial issues from a moral and spiritual perspective. It reminds me of my great grandmother and grandmother telling me stories about their participation in some civil right demonstrations, how they have to drink water, shop for food and household supplies and praise God in certain section of the town that they both were raised in. I was always told you must stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

No matter what happen to the women in the story, her faith like Job, no matter what happen she praised God till the very end. That’s what made this story so memorable. 2- The author made this story intriguing from start to finish. I knew what was going on, but was still surprise at the Christians and the way they handle her. 3- The Welcome Table was well described and developed. It seems like it was based from the same small town in the movie “The Color Purple” which was also written Alice Walker, who was best known for this Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Color Purple”.

4- The author had to use some figurative language to set the back drop and to set the mood to reveal the era of the story. It was based in Georgia. You can tell that the town was still segregated and no real harm came to the women because of her age. 5- My point of view was her skin was a pale gray from working in extreme Georgia weather picking cotton, many years she worked also as a cook, chauffeur, and maid some might say mistress.

The only pleasure in life that was left was going to church to thank God for keeping her through all the hard times. “Many at the church saw this as the beginning of the end of the sanctuary of Christian worship. Saw the desecration of Holy Church, and saw an invasion of privacy, which they struggled to believe they still kept” (Walker, A) 1970. Surprisingly enough this elderly woman was escorted by force out of the church building and into the presence of Jesus.