The poem I selected for my Poetry Essay is, "Telephone Conversation." Wole Soyinka, who is originally from Nigeria wrote, "Telephone Conversation." In this poem, the poet shows us a simple telephone conversation between an African American, who is searching for a house, and a potential landlady. The poet briefly explains the treatment of Africans in European countries, and then goes on to tell about "The "superior" white people in England (Soyinka, 685)." This suggests the poem has a strong racism theme. This whole poem really has opened my eyes to what racism was back in the day. This poem disgusted me in how people would ask how dark or how light someones skin is to see if they could rent a house! This paper will analyze this poem including its themes and imagery, and how Soyinka used literary devices such as irony to get her message to the reader.
One theme that jumps out at the reader immediately is racism. This poem, in general, is about racism. Furthermore, it is about the way people, both black and white, fail to communicate clearly about race. The narrator of this poem is in a conversation on a telephone (hence the title) with a potential landlady about renting an apartment. The narrator feels he must inform the lady that he is black. Lines 4-5: "But self-confession. "Madam," I warned, "I hate a wasted journey-I am African (Soyinka,685-686)." This is where lapses in communication begin, and communication failures take place. The landlady's first response is silence! This clearly establishes the landlady's issue with African Americans. The landlady goes on to ask the dumb question of "Are you dark? Or very light (Soyinka, 686)?" The narrator is dumbfounded and doesn't know what to answer. The topic of race...