Showing posts with label landlady. Show all posts
Showing posts with label landlady. Show all posts
Wole Soyinka’s “Telephone Conversation” is an articulate exchange of words between a dark West African man and his British landlady that unrelenting verges on
the question of apartheid. The poet makes use of the most clear means to voice his views, through a telephone conversation, where there is immediate and natural exchange. It shows a one-to-one discussion between the two. The talk between a dark and a white individual at once shows universal overtones.
At the outset, the poet says that the price seemed reasonable and the location ‘indifferent’. Note that as a word, even though the word “indifferent” denotes being ‘unbiased’, it is a word with a somewhat negative words. However, as we come across the Landlady’s biased nature; the word ‘indifferent’ gains positive overtones, as it is better than
being impartial. The lady swears that she lived ‘off premises’.

Nevertheless, the very aspect of his colour is a conundrum to her, far from her promise to remain indifferent.
Nothing remains for the poet, he says, but confession. It gives a picture of him sitting in a confessional, when he hasn’t committed any crime….his crime is his colour, race and background, his feeling can't change who he is. He tells the lady that he disdain a futile journey. Though his words connote more than he literally symbolizes. The poet seems to be weak of his life perturbed by racist prejudices. As he mentions his race, the lady is trapped with
silence, but a silence that speaks
volumes. A telephone is an instrument that primarily transmits voices, here it becomes a medium for silence also. The civilized world, has these silent powerful issues that need to be voiced.
Here, the silence echoes. It is a silence that is the consequence of her developed upbringing. However, her prejudices go beyond her to primitivism,

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