We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Theme and tone in ‘Telephone Conversation’ by Wole Soyinka

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

Telephone Conversation was a poem concerning the racial discrimination between the Caucasian and African. In the poem, the poet wanted to rent a house from the landlady originally. However, after he stated that he was African, the conversation turned to discuss the poet’s skin color swiftly and it lasted till the end of the conversation.. Repetition was used to emphasize on the issue of racial discrimination. ‘Dark’ was repeated to show how much did the landlady care about the poet’s color, because ‘dark’ usually connects with the dark skin color of African. The landlady was obviously discriminating other races. It could also be shown from the question she repeated asking, ‘are you light or very dark?’After the poet told the landlady that he was African, the landlady’s tone changed at once. Alliteration like ‘clinical, crushing’ was used to emphasize the coldness in the landlady’s tone when she knew the man was African.

Metaphor liked ‘spectroscopic’ was used to compare the landlady’s mind with equipment which was used to judge a color. The significance of using this metaphor was to show the landlady was eager to find out what color the poet was.

Throughout the whole poem, the poet used different techniques to show how Caucasian discriminated the dark. He criticized it was not appropriate to judge a person with his skin color. Instead, they should know each other through direct contact and interaction, ‘madam, you should see the rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet are a peroxide blond.’To conclude, the poet brought out the message that there shouldn’t have racial discrimination existed.

Tone in ‘Telephone Conversation’ by Wole SovinkaThe poet conveyed his feelings on racism through a telephone conversation with a landlady. The tone of the poem was satirical and playful. He compared the education level between himself and the landlady and expressed his anger towards this incident; on the other hand, he also mocked the landlady as his own enjoyment.

Diction was used in two aspects.

First, the poet used diction to express his anger, such as ‘red’ was repeated use to emphasize the anger of the poet when the landlady kept asking him, ‘are you light or very dark?’, because ‘red’ usually associates with ‘burning fire’.

Second, the poet used difficult diction, such as ‘sepia’, ‘brunette’ to insult the landlady of her ‘not as well-educated as he was’, because he knew the woman didn’t understand what these words meant, actually he was mocking the landlady and was totally enjoying in it. This kind of sarcasm added on to the ironic tone of the poem.

Imagery like ”Stench of rancid breath’ was used to show the dissatisfaction of the poet towards racism. Since people would feel annoying and unsatisfied when they smelled something ‘stench’ and ‘rancid’.

To conclude, the poet carried a satirical and playful tone throughout the poem, at the same time, he also expressed his dissatisfaction towards racism.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59