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The poems 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka and 'You will be hearing from us shortly' by U A Fanthorpe both discuss prejudice and discrimination through the use of tone and language.

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Introduction

Twentieth Century Poetry Tyrel Bennett The poems 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka and 'You will be hearing from us shortly' by U A Fanthorpe both discuss prejudice and discrimination through the use of tone and language. The poem 'You will be hearing from us shortly' uses the voice of the interviewer to convey the prejudice. The first line in the poem, 'You feel adequate to the demands of this decision?' immediately implies that the interviewer is well educated, from the use of sophisticated language, but that they are also snobbish and rude and this sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The first stanza involves talking about the people's qualifications and we are able to see that the interviewer already has negative thoughts about the interviewee, but at this moment, her prejudice is more subtle then at the end of the poem. Ageism is the next prejudice that the interviewer embarks on and again they say, 'Perhaps you feel able/To make your own comment about that,' which shows their condescending tone towards the candidate. The interviewer is also showing her superiority over the candidate, as she knows that the candidate will not try to question her. When they say, ' And now the delicate matter: your looks,' here it looks as is they are trying to implement some subtleness but they are not doing so and are still they are awfully blunt and offensive. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore, by the end of the poem the candidate has no power and can do nothing about the prejudice that has just been inflicted upon them. In the poem 'Telephone conversation,' the writer, Wole Soyinka, also uses the tone and expression of the main character to convey a sense of prejudice. The first comparison apparent is that in the first poem, there is only one voice and in this one, there are two. The effect that this has on the reader is that now the conversation is not so one-sided and now there is now a conversation where both sides of the conversation can be heard. In addition, in this one, we get to read the narrator's interior monologue and this helps create a better understanding of his feelings and what he is saying. Furthermore, in this poem there is also the use of enjambment but the poem as a whole is not all fluent as the first one but is more poetic, due to Soyinka's poetic techniques such as assonance and onomatopoeia. As in both poems, a use of imagination is needed, as we do not know what any of the people look like or how old they are. In the first poem, we have to imagine the reaction and feelings of the interviewee and in this one; we have to imagine what the feelings of the landlady and narrator. ...read more.

Conclusion

This a stark contrast to the first poem because we do not hear the reaction of the candidate. Throughout the poem, we learn that the narrator is very intelligent and even more so than his oppressor the landlady. He uses phrases and vocabulary that the landlady does not understand and so he is questioning her authority and intelligence. His voice is similar of that of the interviewer where that he is starting to undermine the landlady. What is not similar is the way that the narrator uses humour to strengthen his intellectual superiority whilst the interviewer is very blunt and straight to the point. The narrator himself does have some prejudice toward the landlady, in that he is concentrating on her stupidity and ignorance. But this is a much more acceptable prejudice because the landlady firstly tried to act more superior but when she shows hers true colours she is nowhere near as intelligent as the narrator. Therefore, even though the landlady is predominantly prejudice the narrator is also prejudice in his own right. In conclusion, the first poem is more prejudice in that it is completely one-sided and that the candidate does not respond. However, in the second poem there is prejudice on both sides and power shifts continuously in this one. Nevertheless it is both the interviewer and the Landlady who, by the end of the poems, show who has the superiority. Tyrel Bennett ...read more.

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