Literature Comparison

Literature Comparison



Literature Comparison


            The Welcome Table by Alice Walker and Child of the Americas by Aurora Levins Moralesare two pieces of literary works, which address the issue of racism and ethnicity according to two different timeframes. The former, is a short story that relies on the historical accounts in America during the time of civil protests on rights and discrimination. The latter is a poem, evidenced by the author on the issue of understanding, recognizing and accepting her identity. The topics on racism and identity are two distinct issues that face different people across the world and the manner in which they are addresses usually determine the reception by different races and ethnical backgrounds. Through the personal accounts of Alice Walker in The Welcome Table and Aurora Levins Morales’ reflection on her identity through Child of the Americas, the contrasting delivery facilitates the efficient use of literal skills in enhancing the message on race and identity.   


            Alice Walker in her book, The Welcome Table, highlights the theme of racism as she gives a personal account in the period during and after the struggles of civil rights movement. It talks of the struggles faced by the pastoral blacks who were facing the challenges of surviving in an era catapulted by the earlier phase of slavery. At the time, they needed to thrive in the presence of the civil rights movement gains, yet they could not do so due to the past struggles and the effects (Whitt, 2006). The author is categorical in her approach as she talks of interracial intolerance in divine places, issues on faith, deaths and judgment by the society. Her approach on the themes and issues are distinct by her choice of literary mastery. She uses historical references on the famous movements and success achieved towards equality.

            Aurora Levins Morales gives a brief description of her issues on her personal identity through Child of the Americas. From the onset, the writer begins by questioning and offering mixed reserves on the true nature of her identity as she belongs to different ethnicities from the Americas. The poem highlights the different ethnicities that the author belongs to and the different significance each carries towards her upbringing, character and shape of mentality in her life. A short literal poem contains the influences, integration and realization on the importance of mixed ethnicities in her life (Custodio, 2014). The emphasis and moral lesson from the analysis, points at the need for acknowledgement and acceptance for a united people. Through her personal account of her identity, the themes are presented in a logical sequence.

            In both pieces of literature, the themes of identity and race make the central points of discussion. The Welcome Table by Alice Walker is vocal on the issues that the black people faced after the debacle of slavery while Child of the Americas by Aurora Levins Morales seeks to find answers on her identity. Both articles raise the issue of the minority groups against the majority groups in the United States. The difference in cultures is evident in the reference of the backgrounds from the turbulent times of the struggles and integration (Custodio, 2014). The diversity is clearly the point of weakness as viewed through both authors’ eyes at the very onset, but offer hope towards a unique culture. In the short story, inferences of the past struggles help shape the themes while in the poem; the moral lesson is borrowed from integration.

            In contrast, the two pieces of literary works differ in the setting and address of the speakers. The Welcome Table by Alice Walker is set in a third-person point of view with an omniscient dimension. For example, she says, “they gazed nakedly upon their own transferred: a fear of the black and old, a terror of the unknown as well as of the deeply known.” The author expects the audience to grasp the message automatically through knowledge on historical injustices. On the other hand, Aurora Levins Morales uses questions to the second-person point of view. She says, “I am not African. Africa is in me, but I cannot return. I am not taína. Taíno is in me, but there is no way back (Hesford and Brueggemann, 2007).” In the latter, it addresses her personal struggles.

            Aurora Levins Morales uses imagery and objectification in highlighting the significance of her identities towards her strengths. Different cultures that she represents foster her strong-willed nature and level of pride in her heritage. She says, “I am Caribbean, island grown. Spanish is my flesh, Ripples from my tongue, lodges in my hips: the language of garlic and mangoes, the singing of poetry, the flying gestures of my hands (Hesford and Brueggemann, 2007).” The attributes increase the strength in her call for integration and diversity. In contrast, Alice Walker uses metaphorical representations in her illustrations. During the reminiscing of the price paid for marriage to a white man, she termed it as unfashionable in reference to white love. It helped bring out the low view that he had over the white majority. It also signified the difference in value between the white majority and minority groups.

            In The Welcome Table by Alice Walker, the author uses flashback in the accounts of the past transgressions. Several of the people at the time are presented from the historical injustices in the period after the civil rights movement. The author gives memories of such acts as throwing the old woman out of church by the white folks. The discrimination faced by the old black woman stemmed from the intolerance levied on the blacks. In contrast, Aurora Levins Morales draws up cultural description of the multi-faceted identity that she possesses to show the significance of integration. She states, “I am new. History made me. My first language was Spanglish. I was born at the crossroads and I am whole (Hesford and Brueggemann, 2007).” She acknowledges the initial conundrum but accepts its importance at the end.

            The plot development in Alice Walker’s The Welcome Table is central to the delivery of the themes. From the onset omniscient mentions of excerpt setting, it follows through the categorical description of the socioeconomic differences between the post civil rights movements era. The struggle for alignment in terms of education, income levels and appreciation are thought on the chronological sequence. For examples, she stated that black children often regressed in class grades as compared to the white’s achievements (Whitt, 2006). In Aurora Levins Morales’ Child of the Americas, she does not use plot development of a narrative to depict the theme of ethnicity and identity. Instead, the focus is given on the different ethnicities and analysis of their impact in her identity. They provide the poem with logical inferences as to how they compose her Americas claim and the multi-faceted nature of her origins.

            Symbolism is a major stylistic device used in Alice Walker’s presentation of the narrative. For example, she highlights the inferences on winter, freezing and overall climate. In reference of the weather, she uses the above to symbolize inactivity and death. Building on the negative aspect, her further statement on the drawbacks experienced to sort of grey matter or blackness and empty feeling. In one instance, the use of blue sky is to show peacefulness (Tippens, Walker and Weathers 2005). Aurora Levins Morales also uses symbolize to show the strength in inclusion of the different identities to her life. For example, she refers to the Spanish influence in her body as the ripples to her tongue, the lodges in her hips. She refers to her mastery of English as a passion in the language represented as the tongue to her consciousness.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


            Child of the Americas by Aurora Levins Morales and Alice Walker’s The Welcome Table are two works of literacy that highlight the themes of identity, ethnicity and issues of race. Both differ in the methods of delivery, as one is a short poem while the other is a short story. The story is set in the historical period of the era that followed racism and discrimination. The poem is an inference on the different multifaceted nature of the author as concerns ethnicities in America. Different stylistic devices such as the use of symbolism, imagery, flashbacks, and rhetorical questions are used in representation of the themes in contrasting and comparisons of the two different authors’. However, despite the numerous differences in sue of style and representation; both literal works are efficient in highlighting a major societal issue of race and ethnicity.  


Custodio, Lee. (2014). An Analysis on the Poem Child of Americas by Aurora Levins Morales. Retrieved from

Hesford, W. S., & Brueggemann, B. J. (2007). Rhetorical visions: Reading and writing in a visual culture. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Tippens, D. L., Walker, J. M., & Weathers, S. (2005). Shadow & light: Literature and the life of faith. Abilene, TX: ACU Press.

Whitt, M. E. (2006). Short stories of the civil rights movement: An anthology. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

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