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"Telephone Conversation" by Wole Soyinka and "You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly" by U A Fanthorpe both deal with discrimination. Compare and contrast the ways each poem deals with this issue.

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Introduction

Caitlin Davies "Telephone Conversation" by Wole Soyinka and "You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly" by U A Fanthorpe both deal with discrimination. Compare and contrast the ways each poem deals with this issue. 'Telephone Conversation' was written by Wole Soyinka. Soyinka, born Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka, studied at the University of Ibadan, and has written many pieces of original work, including autobiographies and prose. U.A Fanthorpe wrote 'You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly.' Fanthorpe has written many poems, which vary from subject to subject. Including a poem to accompany a painting of St.George and the dragon. In "Telephone Conversation" the discrimination brought up is mainly racism, in 'You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly' there are a few discrimination types; age, education, looks, personal life and origin. The two poems address the discrimination differently, this because the discrimination is more obvious in 'Telephone Conversation.' Whereas in 'You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly' the discrimination is hidden, as it is a job interview and the questions are about them and their personal lives. ...read more.

Middle

In contrast, the discrimination in 'Telephone Conversation' is direct and the woman being prejudice obviously doesn't care enough to know that this is extremely insulting. As you can hear the applicant in this poem, his replies may be predictable. However, he tries to be pleasant to the woman when answering questions, but as her questions become more insulting, the man retaliates by referring to his bottom (in front of a lady this is considered rude.) 'By sitting down, has turned my bottom raven black!' This 'outburst' shows how he is not ashamed of his skin colour and is prepared to defend his rights by any means possible. There are many references to colour in this poem, both in symbolism and in describing. One example was when red was used to describe the applicant's anger as the woman asked 'how black he was.' 'Red booth. Red pillar-box. Red double tiered omnibus squelching tar.' ...read more.

Conclusion

In the poem, she wants to know how light or how dark the man is and she doesn't want him to hold back on the description. She also compares the question about skin colour to an everyday household product: 'Like plain or milk chocolate?' Thus showing her approach to the problem, which is a very casual approach, showing her lack of 'tact' in her manner to others. Also, the simplification of the question shows that she thinks the man is of a lower standard and is perhaps not as smart as she herself is. The mans dialogue tells us that he was ready to be refused the apartment as he is black, but wasn't prepared for her to be straight with him about it. Overall, the poems are very different, however, they portray two very similar messages. They both show how discrimination takes place in everyday society, and it's not necessarily being hidden from the world. 'Telephone Conversation' deals with discrimination directly, whereas 'You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly' deals with discrimination indirectly, therefore they both show different scenarios where personal appearance is essential to some people. ...read more.

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