Compare And Contrast Of Two Poems That Focus On Racism Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Plays Type: Essay Paper: #50878000 Related Topics: Comparative Politics, Poem Analysis, Comparative, Racism
Excerpt from Essay :


"Telephone Conversation" by Wole Soyinka and "On the Subway" by Sharon Olds

Geoffrey Akpablie

These poems analyze racism and racist perspectives between whites and blacks during the last five decades. Racism is depicted in this poem from several different perspectives, through both, the viewpoints of black as well as the white people. The poems demonstrate how widespread the phenomenon of racism is, and how the individuals are so intolerant of others of different colors and the different ways in which some people are trying to view racism. The issue of racism is explored by the poems in two ways, the first is the way ordinary people see it, and the second is how politics molds the view of racism. The analysis of the poems will be done to understand how a biased viewpoint can not only plague the kids into over thinking and over reaching but also plagues it to be authoritatively judgemental.

The poem "Telephone Conversation" by Nigerian poet Wole Soyinka, is based on the author's thoughts on the stereotypes taht exist about African or black people in a scenario where such people were looking for a respectable accommodation. When Soyinka writes...


The landlady, asks him how dark his skin color is, and this angers Soyinka, he however uses words such as "Red pillar-box and Red booth" wittingly to answer the lady. This use of wit shows a possible counter for excessive stereotyping in the modern world. The use of color red is not only describe his color but it also depicts his shame, anger and embarrassment towards the question he was asked. However, Soyinka then maintains his moral high ground with the landlady through his use of a combination of wit and humor. He rhetorically asks the woman if by her question she meant his skin color was as white as "milk chocolate" and then answers that his color was "West African sepia," a description which further astonishes the woman. He then sarcastically asks of the landlady to not only examine his exterior skin color but to also see the sole of his feet and the palm of his hands which were of the same color as hers so at make her realize some of the similarities that make both of them human; perhaps hoping that if the wit didn't counter the discrimination, then maybe the similarities would (Gupta, 2015).

The poem "On the Subway" was written by Sharon Olds. Unlike Soyinka's which…

Sources Used in Documents:


Gupta, K. (2015, September 11). Compare and Contrast the Following Poems: Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka, In -- a Brixtan Markit by James Berry, On the Subway by Sharon Olds and On an Afternoon Train from Purley to Victoria by James Berry. Retrieved from Marked by Teachers:

Olds, S. (1987). On the Subway.

Soyinka, W. (1963). Telephone Conversation.

Cite this Document:

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