Telephone Conversation By Soyinka

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Wole Soyinka’s “Telephone Conversation” is an eloquent exchange of dialogue between a dark West African man and his British landlady that inexorably verges on the question of apartheid. The poet makes use of the most articulate means to air his views, through that of a telephone conversation, where there is instant and natural give-and-take. It exhibits a one-to-one correspondence between the two. The interaction between a coloured and a white individual at once assumes universal overtones. At the outset, the poet says that the price seemed reasonable and the location ‘indifferent’. Note that as a word, even though the word “indifferent” denotes being ‘unbiased’, it is a word with negative connotations. However, as we come across the Landlady’s biased nature; the word ‘indifferent’ gains positive overtones, as it is better than being impartial. The lady swears that she lived ‘off premises’. Nevertheless, the very aspect of his colour poses a problem to her, far from her promise to remain aloof. Nothing remains for the poet, he says, but confession. It gives a picture of him sitting in a confessional, when he hasn’t committed any crime….his crime is his colour, his remorse is solutionless. He…show more content…
Red pillar box. Red double-tiered” forebode caution. The questions were too naked to be true. The speaker at last brings himself to believe them. His response is very witty: “You mean–like plain or milk chocolate?” This is the most apt response as dark chocolate is certainly more tempting than plain chocolate. Her disinterested approval of the question was like that of a clinical doctor made immune to human emotions through experience. Human pain and misery its own saturation point; after a certain point people tend to joke at their own agony. As the saying goes: Be a God, and laugh at Yourself. The speaker therefore begins enjoying the situation and confuses the lady on the other side. He asserts: “West African sepia”, to further confuse
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