the black man, and the absurdity of racism that makes the antagonist i.e.
the white landlady, take a negative stance towards the former.
Finally, the landlady slams down the receiver on his face.
The theme of “Telephone Conversation” rests upon the conflict between the protagonist i.e.
The main problem in this poem is that there is a huge amount of racism show by the landlady to the African – ‘How dark? ’ This shows immediately that the landlady has something against coloured people and can’t have a conversation without knowing the skin colour of the man.
It also seems that the landlady would prefer the man not be coloured than to rather receive money for the accommodation.
Written in the first person narrative form, “Telephone Conversation” by Wole Soyinka grapples with the issue of racism, that being a completely obnoxious human attribute that can be seen lurking within the minds of countless individuals.
The poet has placed before his audience a telephonic conversation between a white landlady and an African man, with the latter looking for a place to rent.
The idea behind “Telephone Conversation” is to depict how brutal and devastating it can be for a man who is subjected to racial discrimination.
Thoughts of racism and preconceived notions come blended with an element of irony. Then, he goes on to answer that his skin color can be pictured as “West African sepia”.