a good analysis
Soyinka’s Telephone Conversation depicts a conversation between a white lady and an African American man which casts a harsh light on the racism and prejudice which grips society.
The title reveals the fact that two people are talking on the phone, so the beginning of the poem is on a positive note: The man is searching for a house and the land lady has named a considerable price, and the area where it is located is an impartial and not racially prejudiced. Also the man could enjoy his privacy as the land lady does not live under the same roof. The African man is ready to accept the offer, but maybe there has been a similar incident in his past, for he stops and admits to her that he is black, saying he prefers not to waste the time travelling there if she’s going to refuse him on that bounds.
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In Freud’s vision of things we are, above all, ambivalent animals: wherever we hate, we love; wherever we love, we hate. If someone can satisfy us, they can also frustrate us; and if someone can frustrate us, we always believe that they can satisfy us. We criticize when we are frustrated — or when we are trying to describe our frustration, however obliquely — and praise when we are more satisfied, and vice versa. Ambivalence does not, in the Freudian story, mean mixed feelings, it means opposing feelings.
Love and hate — a too simple, or too familiar, vocabulary, and so never quite the right names for what we might want to say — are the common source, the elemental feelings with which we apprehend the world; and they are interdependent in the sense that you can’t have one without the other, and that they mutually inform each other. The way we hate people depends on the way we love them, and vice versa. And given that these contradictory feelings are our ‘common source’ they enter into everything we do. They are the medium in which we do everything. We are ambivalent, in Freud’s view, about anything and everything that matters to us; indeed, ambivalence is the way we recognize that someone or something has become significant to us… Where there is devotion there is always protest… where there is trust there is suspicion.
We may not be able to imagine a life in which we don’t spend a large amount of our time criticizing ourselves and others; but we should keep in mind the self-love that is always in play.
- The Writivism Short Story Prize is an annual award for emerging African writers administered by the Center for African Cultural Excellence (CACE).
- Entrants must be unpublished writers, resident in an African country. One is deemed published if they have a book of their own.
- Any questions of eligibility shall be resolved by the CACE administration and their decision is final.
- Entries must be submitted online, by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org as attachments (not in the body email), clearly labeled in the subject: 2016 Writivism Short Story Prize Submission from January 30 until March 31, 2016. The writer must include in the body of the email, other information about him/her, as country of residence, age, legal name and pen name (where applicable) and telephone contact.
- Only one entry per writer may be submitted for the Writivism Short Story Prize. The story must be original and previously unpublished in any form except…
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A pain on my fingers
Fatigue of the thoughts
I fumble with words
Chasing the changing flares
The flipping images
Flapping like a restless bird
In my mind
Faster than my fingers on this keyboard
Or this pen bleeding on this sheet
One day it will
One day though
A staccato on pages of life
Dance to the whistle of my vibrations,
The I AM synergy
One day these discords will shine
Brighter like neon
And settled dust of the universe
Illuminating under the power
Of the sun
A sum of the ancient moments
These will be stories for the later generations
As they reminisce
Clouded by the change of times
Transformations in the cosmos
The increase of less-es
Delusions of the senses
Blinded by the lust of the eyes
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Over the years, I’ve tried to make it a point to encourage you to take care of the body that carries the soul. Not that I won’t continue to cheer us on in the fight for bodily stewardship, but the more I study and grow and fail, the more certain I am that while the body carries the soul, it’s the soul that protects the body; not the other way around.
John Ortberg writes, “The soul knows a glory that the body cannot rob. In some ways, in some cases, the more the body revolts, the more the soul shines through.” He goes on to say that the “greatness of soul is available to people who do not have the luxury of being ecstatic about the condition and appearance of their bodes.” (Word.)
That particular quote came on the heels of a story about Patricia. Patricia suffered from the effects of diabetes, a heart attack and two strokes. She went blind and lost both legs…all in her thirties. But before she died, she led a team to build a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C. At her funeral, alongside Secretary of State James Baker, standing in reverent respect were – of course – the homeless. “The only thing I can depend on with my body is that it will fail me. Somehow my body is mine, but it’s not me,” she said.
Greatness of soul. I’d say that’s our theme.
Only your cousin Dozie knows who killed your brother Nonso
Here a girl is reminishing about something which happened 13 years ago. It was the summer her brother Nonso died. She has gone bask to that plae, where her brother had died. She again meets her ousin Dozie. She has alway been in love with him. Their granmother had preferred her brother over them. He being, her daughter’s son, and she being a mere girl. Even when grandmama was dying, she thought of Nonso, talked of Nonso, even though Dozie was her all this while..
You turn away. There is a long silence while you watch the column of black ants making its way up the trunk, each ant carrying a bit of white fluff, creating a black-white pattern. You feel a rush…
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Deal Me In Reading Challenge: I drew the queen of spades.
Story: The Arrangers of Marriage, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [from The Granta Book of the African Short Story]
Comments: I first read this story in Adichie’s short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck, a few years ago. It is about a young Nigerian woman just come to New York where her new husband, also Nigerian, is a medical intern. The marriage has been arranged between their two families. It deals with her reactions to many surprising things – the first one being that the “house” her husband had spoken of turns out to be “a furniture-challenged flat”. There quickly follows her discovery of the extent to which her “new husband” (this is how she refers to him throughout the story) wants to become Americanized and to cast off many aspects of their Nigerian culture. There is…
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It is not the love of our neighbour, it is not the love of mankind, which upon many occasions prompts us to the practice of those divine virtues. It is a stronger love, a more powerful affection, which generally takes place upon such occasions; the love of what is honourable and noble, of the grandeur, and dignity, and superiority of our own characters.
To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is — solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves. Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate — ?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things. Only in this sense, as the task of working at themselves (“to hearken and to hammer day and night”), might young people use the love that is given them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them (who must save and gather for a long, long time still), is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives as yet scarcely suffice.