Poetry Analysis

Poetry is a way of passing messages in ways that are not easy for people who are not keen to understand cannot decipher. It is a very broad branch of literature that requires keen understanding and analysis for it to make sense. “Telephone Conversation” by Wole Soyinka and “The Subway” by Sharon Olds are poems with similar themes. “Telephone Conversations” by Soyinka is about an African man being denied tenancy by a British landlady for being black. “The Subway,” is a reflection of a white woman on how easy her life is because she is white compared to that of a young man she sees while riding a train in the subway. In the two poems, there is the theme of racism and discrimination. The white lady in the subway notices and acknowledges the fact that being white makes her life easy compared to that of the black young man standing with her in the subway. In the “telephone conversation,” the theme of discrimination and racism is further carried on by the white lady who asks the caller whether he is light or very dark. It is important to note that when these poems were written, the theme of racism was very open and people did not bother to hide it or feel ashamed to admit that they were racists.

The literary elements in the poem by Soyinka, “Telephone Conversation,” are tone and metaphors. This is evident in the line where the land lady asks the caller whether he is black or light, her tone changes so drastically that the poet terms it as clinical. “Her accent was clinical, crushing in its light impersonality.” (Soyinka)This indicates a tone that is unfriendly and unapproachable. It also presents the theme of discrimination greatly. The landlady does not want to accept a black tenant just because of his color. It is a theme in line with racism. The landlady discriminates the caller yet she has not even seen him in person just because she heard that he is black.

In the poem by Olds, “The Subway,” the theme of racism is evident from the personas admission on how easy her life is just because her skin is white. “ (Olds)There is no way to know how easy this skin makes my life.” It is important to note that in this poem, it is the white lady’s thoughts that the poet has used. The literary elements in this poem are imagery and allusion (Skeamey, 2017). The poet creates the image in our minds that makes the black man vulnerable yet in the white woman’s mind, she is the vulnerable one. Allusion is evident in the idea of racisms which has always been there and still is present in the lives of people. 

To conclude, the two poems have executed the themes of discrimination and racism very elaborately. The literary elements in both poems have also been used well enough to support the theme of racism and discrimination by making clear the race references. Poetry being an art of expression that is timeless, is justified by these poems given that the theme is still relevant today as it was during the time when the poets wrote the poems. The two poems only differ in the personas but the theme remains the same. The, “Telephone Conversation,” is from the perspective of an African man while, “The Subway,” is from the perspective of a white woman. 


Olds, S. (n.d.). On The Subway. Retrieved from Poetry Magazines: www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazines/record.asp?id=2161

Skeamey. (2017, January 31). Literary Elements of Poetry. Retrieved from Quizlet: quizlet.com/18058407/literary-elements-of-poetry-flash-cards/

Soyinka, W. (n.d.). Telephone Conversation. Retrieved from All Poetry: allpoetry.com/poem/10379451-Telephone-Conversation-by-Wole-Soyinka

Order a unique copy of this paper
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

At Solution Essays, we are determined to deliver high-quality papers to our clients at a fair price. To ensure this happens effectively, we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees. This guarantees will ensure you enjoy using our website which is secure and easy to use.

Money-back guarantee

Most companies do not offer a money-back guarantee but with Solution Essays, it’s either a quality paper or your money back. Our customers are assured of high-quality papers and thus there are very rare cases of refund requests due to quality concern.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

All our papers are written from scratch and according to your specific paper instructions. This minimizes any chance of plagiarism. The papers are also passed through a plagiarism-detecting software thus ruling out any chance of plagiarism.

Read more

Free-revision policy

We offer free revisions in all orders delivered as long as there is no alteration in the initial order instruction. We will revise your paper until you are fully satisfied with the order delivered to you.

Read more

Privacy policy

All data on our website is stored as per international data protection rules. This ensures that any personal data you share with us is stored safely. We never share your personal data with third parties without your consent.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

Ordering and sending money to us is an indication that you are purchasing our products and services. To have business talks laid out in the official language, you can check on our terms and conditions and get more information about this.

Read more

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Order your essay today and save 30% with the discount code: LEMONADEPlace Order