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"Telephone Conversation," by Wole Soyinka and "You will be hearing from us shortly," by U.A.Fanthorpe both deal with prejudiced attitudes through the language and tone of the three speakers.

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Introduction

Twentieth Century Poetry Coursework Niall O'Connor 5E2 5LK Miss Shelagh O'Connell "Telephone Conversation," by Wole Soyinka and "You will be hearing from us shortly," by U.A.Fanthorpe both deal with prejudiced attitudes through the language and tone of the three speakers. "You will be hearing from us shortly," by U.A.Fanthorpe, depicts the degrading process of being interviewed and only the interviewers voice is conveyed to us. This is done to create a patronizing, condescending and haughty tone. At the beginning of the poem the tone seems polite but the sub-text is invariably insulting. This becomes more obvious as the poem progresses. The title "You will be hearing from us shortly," is a clich� and is always heard in reference to the application of jobs and auditions. The clich� is not genuinely enthusiastic but typically aloof. It sets the tone of the poem in this way as the title is a phrase an unimpressed interviewer would use. The interviewers responses are set on the right hand side of the page to make it easier for the reader to understand that these phrases are responses. If not set on the right hand side of the page, the reader would find it very difficult to understand which parts of the text were responses. ...read more.

Middle

and appearance whilst "Telephone Conversation" has a set structure for line length, which is two long lines followed by a shorter line and is not split into separate verse paragraphs or set with responses on the opposite side of the page, to give "Telephone Conversation" a rhythm of natural speech. The first three lines of "Telephone Conversation," start with the potential tenant describing the property in question. The property is portrayed as a pleasant place to live but a bombshell is then brought upon the reader in the fourth line as the potential tenant pronounces that, "Nothing remains but self-confession." This is very negative in implication as it is hard to understand why someone in his position would need to "confess" anything. However it is important to recall at this time that the poem was written in approximately the 1960's where racism was a part of the culture for certain parts of the population and so instead of wasting a journey the man confessed, "I am African." The confession also shows that the prospective tenant is aware of any prejudices the landlady may have, in "You will be hearing from us shortly," it did not occur to the interviewee to confess he was not a member of "The Old School Tie." ...read more.

Conclusion

The ellipses emphasize the boordy of the final speech. The description in lines 7-9 creates a good initial impression of a stereotype of the Africans assumptions of a classy, rich, middle-aged lady. "Lipstick coated," gives us an idea that the lady wears maybe too much make-up but cares about her personal appearance and "Long gold-rolled cigarette holder," tells us that although rich the lady seems to be very down to Earth. Nevertheless as her accent breaks and her racism and lack of general knowledge persists we see her as the ignorant and false person she is. As the poem is told from his point of view we are given a very good impression of the potential tenant. When he is given the choice "Button B. Button A," instead of choosing to let his anger out, he stays patient until he cannot take it anymore. Yet, he does not insult the landlady when angry but only defends himself assertively. To conclude both poems have an awful lot in common. Both poets have produced extremely good poems, which teach the reader about the possibilities of certain situations in life. Both deal with prejudiced attitudes through the language and tone of the three speakers and expose them to be ignorant. Both poems use a sense of progression to create a colossal climax. In both poems the prejudiced people have preconceptions, which they stick to, which shows us the importance of first impressions. ...read more.

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