Wole Sovinka's tone in "Telephone Conversation" Through a phone discussion with a landlady, the poet expressed his emotions about racism. The poem's tone was sarcastic and lighthearted. It shows that even though Wole Sovinka was living in America, he had feelings about racism that were similar to those in England where he was born.
In this poem, Sovinka uses language that is common in twentieth-century poetry. This includes alliteration, assonance, and consonance. These are three different ways of arranging words or sounds that can help readers understand ideas in poems. Alliteration is when words or phrases start with the same letter. For example, in this poem, "cold" and "gold" both start with the letter C. This would be an example of using alliteration. Assonance is when two or more words or phrases sound alike but have different meanings. For example, "shower" and "flash" both mean "to pour out water," but they also sound like "shuffle" and "flicker." Consonance is when two or more words or phrases have the same meaning but use different letters or sound patterns. For example, "grave" and "gorgeous" both mean "beautiful," but they also end with the letters G and R.
Racism is the central subject of "Telephone Conversation." In the poem, a black guy attempts to finalize a housing agreement over the phone with a landlady. He wants to tell the landlady he's black, and a crazy debate develops over how dark his complexion is. The guy ends up not buying the house, but the poem is about much more than that. It's also about prejudice and discrimination.
Here are the key lines:
She said she'd think about it and hung up the phone. (3) I said I was sorry she was so racist. She said racism wasn't real, it was in our heads. I said maybe so, but that didn't change what had happened to me. She said there were more important things than being honest about other people's prejudices. I said yes, but this one mattered to me. She said if it made her feel better, she would say I was very dark indeed. (4)
Now, here's where it gets complicated. Some readers have complained that "Telephone Conversation" is racist because the landlady only cares about how dark he is, not how smart or handsome or anything else good about him. But others think the poem is okay because it shows us something important about prejudice and its effects. It can make you feel bad about yourself even if the person who hates you isn't aware of your race or ethnicity or religion or whatever.
Wole Soyinka's poem "Telephone Conversation," written in the first person narrative point of view, is a literary satire on the widespread racism in current Western culture. The poem also serves as a testimonial to the power of communication through technology.
The poem begins with a description of a modern-day phone booth, which is then transformed into a metaphor for black people's experience in society:
This is how my phone looks like now/ It has no face but its own/ Its mouth is open but it says nothing/ It is a machine without soul/ Not like me, who never calls himself/ But if they want my voice they can have it/ I am not going anywhere.
So far we have a description of a phone booth and a comparison between this modern invention and black people. Now for the poem itself:
They say there is a difference between poetry and prose. Poetry is different because it makes use of language artfully, whereas prose is plain speaking - the choice of words matters.
In "Telephone Conversation," Wole Soyinka uses this distinction to explain why black people need to learn how to communicate through technology even though they are already doing so naturally in speech.
"Telephone Conversation" is a racist satire written by Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka in 1963. The poem is about a phone call about renting an apartment between a landlady and the speaker, who is black. It was first published in a magazine called Our Corner in London.
Sooyinka had just returned from studying in Europe when he wrote this poem. It deals with many issues that concerned African-Americans at that time, such as discrimination and racism. The speaker ends up getting deported because of him being black, but later gets allowed to return due to political changes taking place in Nigeria at the time.
Here are some lines from the poem: "Tell her I don't want no apartment today. / Tell her I'm not coming back tomorrow either."
In addition to being a satirical piece, "The Telephone Conversation" also uses language idiosyncratically. For example, instead of saying "landlord" or "building manager", the poet calls them "mistress" and "master". This helps to highlight the absurdity of their relationship since the master/mistress division in England at the time did not include people of different races.
Furthermore, instead of using the formal you, he uses the familiar thou which makes the poem more intimate.