Racism in Cullen's Incident and Soyinka's Telephone Conversation

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Racism in Cullen's Incident and Soyinka's Telephone Conversation


The poem  "Incident," by Countee Cullen, deals with the effect racism has on a young black child vacationing in Baltimore.  The child is mistreated by a white child and disturbed in his innocence so much that after spending seven months in Baltimore, this is all he remembers.  A different poem,  "Telephone Conversation, " by Wole Soyinka, also deals with this issue, but from a different perspective.  In this poem a man is trying to rent an apartment but the owner of the complex doesn’t want him to move in because he is African.  She asks him  "How dark?   Are you light / Or very dark?. "  Each black person in their
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Another aspect that creates leverage toward the meaning of these poems is thefashion of writing in that is seen.   "Incident"  has a very basic rhyme scheme and is very easily read.  It does not have many images, and it is very straight forward in what it has to say.   "Incident"  creates the effect of being spoken by a less educated narrator.  It seems the author of  "Incident," though older and still not quite educated, speaks with strength and with confidence about what happened, though still somewhat defensive about it.


"Telephone Conversation"  is more complex in its message and harder to comprehend.  It has many different images and no rhyme scheme.  In  "Telephone Conversation"  we can get a grasp of the narrator s education through the way things are worded and
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