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Depicting Racisim

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Racism for the most part is an extremely touchy subject for most. Most people are in denial about it or are just trying to avoid confrontation and remaining content with the way that things are. In the poem Telephone conversation author Wole Soyinka uses irony in a surprising way that we would not expect. Wole uses irony to depict the poems main subject, irony.

When reading the poem you must pay close attention to the words that Wole is using to describe certain situations. He uses words that somehow take you to the time that he speaking about and words of sophistication which is ironic because African-Americans are not known for using educated words. "By ill-mannered silence, surrender....." he uses these words to clarify on how rude this woman actually was. There was no reason for the woman on the phone to ask questions of his skin complexion. It was inane and uncalled for.

Pay close attention to how the poem is written that grammar, spelling and punctuation. He uses quotations to signify the conversation between the woman and himself. There are quite a few sentence fragments, because he is trying to get straight to the point. Looking at the poem you immediately notice all the words that are in all caps. The words that are in all caps are like that for the reason that they are important of course. Having all the words in caps gives you a sense of how rude the woman on the phone is being. It also makes you think she is the one who is trying to berate someone but instead she is the one acting ill-mannered when you would expect that from the African-American correct? The woman repeatedly keeps asking the same question being naïve.

The irony in that is she is addressing the person as if they are no good and she is the one who is acting no good.

There are many things that you can take from this poem as far as tone. In the beginning things seem to be quiet calm until the land lady starts acting a little feisty. Then the tone transforms to rude. There is a lot of attitude that is going on in this poem. Also blatant disrespect. Which the Wole is not taking to kindly to. Towards the end of the poem he gets a little sarcastic. His sarcasm shows that he is the more mature one and does not have time to indulge himself in her ignorance. Most people would expect for someone of the African-American descent to retaliate and he does not do so. He remains calm cool and collected, and with respect. He does not prove the woman's case of his skin color having to do with the way that he acts.

In the end Wole used irony in a brilliant way to show racism. Those who are racist are always looking for a reaction to prove their point. Wole knew that so he did the opposite which angered the woman and ended up making her look bad on her own. In the end she ended up looking like the ignorant fool. Irony being that it was expected for the African-American to look like the fool.



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