Theme and Narrative Elements in the Short Story
Prof. Elizabeth Hoyle
September 26, 2008
There are numerous literary elements that play a role in short stories in order to add to the larger narrative theme. An example of this is the narrative "The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker. Throughout this paper, this writer will demonstrate the significance of how the application of point of view, setting, and symbolism plays a role contributing the theme of a story.
"The Welcome Table" by Alice Walker is narrated from the third person omniscient point of view. Walker's description of the main character is so vividly expressed that it is difficult for the reader to visualize anything other than that of a poverty-stricken and destitute individual. Readers experience feelings of compassion when Walker describes the unnamed woman's unkempt appearance: her tattered clothing and lack of hygiene. From the depiction expressed throughout the narration, one could sense that this short story was borne out of Walker’s own personal experiences.
I believe that the short story "The Welcome Table" is Walker’s way of conveying a message regarding the prejudices and harshness individuals encounter. Rather than expressing how the main character feels, the writer focuses on the opinions of the other characters in the story. Readers are able to have firsthand knowledge of the observations of the white members of the church. An example of this racial scrutiny is identified when "Many of them saw jungle orgies in a evil place, while others were reminded of riotous anarchists looting and raping in the streets" (Clugston, 2010) while "Others saw cooks, chauffeurs, maids, mistresses, children denied or smothered in the deferential way she held her cheek to the side, toward the ground" (Clugston, 2010). Walker's thorough opinions lead the reader to believe that she has previously encountered this type of prejudice.
According to Clugston, "the theme in a story is a...