Literature: Racism and African American Woman

Topics: Racism, Literature, Fiction Pages: 9 (1999 words) Published: September 30, 2014


Joy Faulkner
Introduction to Literature
Instructor: Brendan Praniewicz
Ashford University
9/24/2014

In developing a theme, a writer narrows this idea and shapes it in a unique way, creating and underlying message in the story. In other words, the theme in a story is a representation of the idea behind the story. To identify a story’s theme or sometimes multiple themes it is necessary to look beyond the plot. The plot tells you what happens in a story, but the theme tells you what the story is about: What is the underlying message? What is driving the action? Why did the author choose this tone? Why are these characters behaving this way? Why should we care? (Clugston, 2014). The” Welcome Table” by Alice Walker and “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer are literary works that have similarities and differences. These two pieces are similar in that they are both written in third person and they both have an effect of social and racial discrimination related in each work. The authors of both literary works intentions are to show the audience that separation of color was illegal when these stories were written, but they were not written to destroy lives or relationships. These literary works can cause one to gain a better understanding of what many people have experienced in the days when discrimination caused so much adversity. Both of these literary works are similar because they both involve racial discrimination. They are very different in their style, character and format. I think the most common thing that these two literary poems share is they both have a strong and excellent characterization. “Country Lovers” has events and circumstances of behavior and situations that “The Welcome Table does not have. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast two literary stories, “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker and “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer. 

Literature is writing that sets the tone to evoke one’s mind by compelling to the senses through sight, hearing, touch and smell. Alice Walker’s literary writing is captivating in that it draws you in by setting a tone that makes you feel for the African American woman character in her story “The Welcome Table.” The tone sets up literary elements to the theme of racism, life, death, and religion. The theme is the overall idea behind the story. Sometimes the theme is hidden, and we see it depict in faint clues divulged by characters. The first paragraph of “The Welcome Table” describes an old woman stood with eyes uplifted in her Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes: high shoes polished about the tops and toes, a long rusty dress adorned with an old corsage, long withered, and the remnants of an elegant silk scarf as head rag stained with grease from the many oily pigtails underneath. Perhaps she had known suffering. There was a dazed and sleepy look in her aged blue-brown eyes. But for those who searched hastily for "reasons" in that old tight face, shut now like an ancient door, there was nothing to be read. And so they gazed nakedly upon their own fear transferred; a fear of the black and the old, a terror of the unknown as well as of the deeply known. Some of those who saw her there on the church steps spoke words about her that were hardly fit to be heard, others held their pious peace; and some felt vague stirrings of pity, small and persistent and hazy, as if she were an old collie turned out to die. (Walker, 1993). An example of how the theme is defined is the idea that the character a (elderly, African American woman) had been looking for Jesus her whole life and after being thrown out of a church of white people she sees Jesus walking down the road. The theme here is the story about the life and death of an elderly African American woman who looked for Jesus her whole life and finally, he came for her to take her home. (The Theme in a story is defined as the idea behind the story.)...
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