Raical Prejudice Comparison Essay, Research Paper
Danny Connolly 11.3
Compare and contrast two poems
which are on the theme of racial prejudice
The two poems that I am going to compare are “Strange Fruit” and “Telephone conversation” which both feature racial prejudice.
The first of the two poems that I will study is “Strange Fruit”. This is a very simple and meaningful poem. The author of this poem is writing about what was happening to the black people of the southern states of America. It shows exactly what happens to them when captured which brings in some strong sentences
“And the sudden smell of burning flesh”
I think that the most effective words of the poem are in the title because you have to read the whole of the poem to understand what it means.
Lewis Allen the author tries to put the point across by making it different from the usual news reports and broadcasts. He does this by comparing it to the natural land and emphasising how bad it is
“Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh”
The poem itself has rhyming couplets in every two sentences just like a simple poem.
The title suggests that the fruit is the unnatural black body hanging from the tree which hangs like a fruit. This image makes it a metaphor to give the whole poem an effect.
The authors intention is to make people understand exactly what is going on. He also tries to make us feel guilty as we are the murderers because we are white.
The poem ‘Telephone conversation’ is staged by a black man who is looking for a flat but ends up phoning to a landlady who is racist but tries to be polite in finding out whether he is he is a dark or light one.
When he first speaks to her he feels awkward as he feels he has to confess that he is African. Also I think he feels as though he has been in the same position before somewhere else and he knows what is expected from people like the landlady he is speaking to.
When he tells her that he is African she becomes speechless and wants to know if he is light or dark brown. She puts her words in a more polite way of asking but they are not to the point of what they could be which makes it more harder for the answers.
His response to the question ‘How dark?’ ‘Are you light or very dark?’ is to get her back and deliberately embarrass her by putting in words of what she meant when she asked that question.
When he answers the question this time he gives her a sarcastic answer that he just made up to be awkward. She then becomes stuck and wants an immediate answer as you can see by the tone of her voice.
The poem also has a number of amusing lines to bring in some humour
“by sitting down has turned my bottom black”
Again when he gives her this information he is trying to embarrass her.
The whole conversation seems like a war between then because she is racist and he gets her back by embarrassing her.
The poem is very much like a play showing everyday life as a black person who wants to rend a room from a racist landlady.
I think that the poem is quite effective as it is a more modern and day to day situation rather than “Strange Fruit”.
Both the poems are featured on racial prejudice. I think that the telephone conversation would be more effective because it is more modern and likely to happen than walking through some part of a country and finding black bodies swinging from trees.
‘Telephone conversation’ is just like a play as ‘Strange Fruit’ is like a factual poem although it doesn’t seem as real as ‘Telephone conversation’.
Both of the poems are written by men, ‘Strange fruit’ from about 1930 and ‘Telephone conversation’ from about 1960.
Telephone conversation has a lot of unspoken thoughts from sentence to sentence and has a lot of humour also it is very clever.
‘Strange fruit’ is just a basic rhyming poem with strong language.