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Using the poems 'Telephone Conversation' By Wole Soyinka and 'Nothing Said' by Brenda Agard explain how the poets convey and challenge the message in their poems. Also compare the similarities and differences.

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Using the poems 'Telephone Conversation' By Wole Soyinka and 'Nothing Said' by Brenda Agard explain how the poets convey and challenge the message in their poems. Also compare the similarities and differences. Both 'Telephone Conversation' and 'Nothing Said' can be recognised from the outset as poems reflecting the injustice bestowed upon black British citizens in the late 20th century. Each poem contains material for protest, and displays a point the narrator believes strongly in, due to their black origin, however, both poems reflect upon different experiences. Whilst 'Telephone Conversation' exhibits the difficult situation in which many black men found themselves when seeking accommodation, 'Nothing Said' talks of a tragic disaster that occurred in 1981, affecting the entire black community. Both poems deal with colour racism in a separate, yet effective, manner and are compelling in their own individual way. As the title suggests, Wole Soyinka's poem is a 'Telephone Conversation' between a Black African man and a white landlady. The title clearly shows that the poem is about speech and communication, and, throughout, Soyinka demonstrates the frustration of the black man when seeking somewhere to live and facing racial abuse. This is a typical incident that confronted many black British citizens when seeking accommodation, and Soyinka obviously wants the reader to relate to this experience. ...read more.


The landlady clearly believes that she is superior to the Black African, however in today's society everyone is supposed to be treated as an equal. The narrator realises in the concluding lines of the poem that his mockery of the landlady has offended her, and with the 'receiver rearing' he begs the landlady to meet with him, "Madam wouldn't you rather see for yourself?" The reader is left unaware of how the poem concludes, but we feel grateful to the black narrator for refusing to stand for her ridiculous questioning and for defending his rights. 'Nothing Said', by Brenda Agard, displays the view of many black British citizens in the early 80's, following the Deptford fires, which left lives devastated. The title sets the theme, stating the fact that speech is prohibited, and the opening lines create the atmosphere of a protest march, using rhyme to capture the reader's attention. This use of rhyme does not continue throughout the poem, however the careful use of punctuation and language engraves the poem in the readers mind. Within the opening lines the reader quickly sympathises with the pain of the marchers, "Until the pain goes away we will march some more" although we are yet to discover the cause of the march. ...read more.


Whist 'Telephone Conversation' is an account in the present tense, 'Nothing Said' comments on a protest that occurred in the past, as well as the actions the black society is going to take in the future. Each poem uses separate tones to depict their anger at racial injustice. 'Telephone Conversation' uses wit and humour alongside sarcasm to create a resigned attitude, using speech in the first person. 'Nothing Said', however, uses angry bitter tones to convey the resentment felt by many black British citizens. Overall I think that both poems are exceedingly effectual in their methods of conveying black views on racism, but each poem presents its opinions in a completely different and proficient manner. 'Telephone Conversation' requires analysis before it can be fully understood, as the narrator's feelings are hidden amidst imagery. However, once the poem is fully comprehensible it has a very clear message about racism and is extremely effective at presenting the poet's views on colour racism. 'Nothing Said' appears from the outset to be the clearer of the two poems. However it lacks detail, and unless background knowledge is known on the event the poem talks about, the full effect of the poem cannot be attained. Therefore I believe that 'Telephone Conversation' is the more effectual of the two poems providing a detailed view of a black Citizens opinion and leaving the reader astounded at the racism and discrimination present within society. Laura Brayne. ...read more.

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