Wole Soyinka Questions and Answers

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What is the critical overview of the poem ''Telephone Conversation'' by Wole Soyinka?

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Wole Soyinka penned "Telephone Conversation" in 1960 while living in England, and it stands as a criticism of the racism he faces as a Nigerian while living at that time and in that culture.

The speaker of the poem is in need of a place to live and finds one that has a reasonable price. The location seems "indifferent," indicating that he doesn't think there are any particularly strong racist tendencies in that area. In the spirit of full disclosure, he decides to share with the landlady that he is African.

It is important to reflect on the title's significance here. This is no "conversation" at all as the landlady is unwilling to speak in anything besides fragments. Therefore, the entire poem is an ironic reflection of the title.

He is met with "Silence. Silenced transmission of pressurized good-breeding." This is juxtaposed with the actual statement that follows to show the irony of this statement regarding "good breeding." The landlady's actual words are "HOW DARK."

Thinking he could not...

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