The Spirit World
Despite Wole's upbringing as a Christian in a Christian parsonage compound, the "spirit world" of his immediate ancestors constantly pervades his life and the life of his family. As a child who doesn't know better, Wole wholeheartedly believes many of the superstitions and primitive beliefs and practices handed down through the Yoruba people. It is in fact crucial that Wole write with a childlike openness in respect to these religions, to avoid any judgment or derision in regards to these customs; instead, like Wole, the reader can simply absorb them and take them for granted as a part of the world Wole is crafting. In this world, creatures called ghommids are waiting to attack little children who dare go by the local stream to collect snails. A variety of amulets and other trinkets can block bad "juju," or magic. And cursed items can wither hands or...
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Essay about Commentary on Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka
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Commentary on Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka recollects vividly in Ake Mrs. Huti talking about white racism. He was thus mentally prepared to cope with the racism before he left for England. The race problem which has been treated with levity in the immigrant poems is treated from the poet’s personal experience in “Telephone Conversation.”
“Telephone Conversation” involves an exchange between the black speaker and a white landlady. This poem more than any other is enriched by Soyinka’s experience of drama. It appears that the speaker is so fluent in the landlady’s language that she is unable to make out that he is black and a foreigner. But he, knowing the society for its racial prejudice, deems it…show more content…
The landlady asks the speaker, “HOW DARK?” which he is at first too confused to answer: “Surrender pushed dumbfoundment to simplification.” He suspects that she is trying to humiliate him because “Her accent was clinical, crushing in its light/Impersonality.” The alliterative verse musically represents the sense of crushing. The man prepares himself for a verbal confrontation and replies, “West African sepia.” The landlady seems confused over the shade of darkness and becomes silent , an interval described as
“Silence for spectroscopic flight of fancy”; and admits “DON’T KNOW
WHAT THAT IS.” He explains, “Like brunette,” which the landlady conceives as dark, but for the speaker, “Not altogether,” The poem ends as the speaker elaborates on the diverse colours that make up his body, a display which apparently exasperates the lady and makes her drop the receiver. She is made to feel narrow-minded and simplistic, and she loses the verbal battle in her own language to an outsider.
The satiric voice is established through many devices. The poet uses words with negative connotations to portray the lady. She “swore,” and her accent is “light,” insensitive. There is a pun on “light” because she has preference for “light” people, and her voice is light. There is an abundance of descriptive epithets ranging from “indifferent,”
“silenced,” through “pressurized,” “lipstick coated,” “long