Telephone Conversation Workbook Solution : ISC Rhapsody & Prism

Telephone Conversation Workbook Solution : ISC Rhapsody & Prism

Welcome to “Telephone Conversation Workbook Solution: ISC Rhapsody & Prism,” where we explore ISC English Literature Rhapsody & Prism’s captivating narrative. Within these pages, we unravel the essence of “Telephone Conversation” through meticulous workbook solutions. This post offers comprehensive answers to multiple-choice and contextual questions, deepening your understanding of the timeless tale. Meet the intriguing characters and delve into the nuances of character development and thematic exploration. Each question serves as a gateway to dissecting the text, urging readers to analyze subtle nuances and extract deeper meanings. Contextual inquiries broaden our canvas for exploration, encouraging critical engagement with socio-cultural backdrops and universal themes. Through this examination, readers sharpen analytical skills and develop a profound appreciation for literary craftsmanship. Whether a student navigating ISC English Literature or an avid reader unraveling beloved stories, “Telephone Conversation Workbook Solutions” promises valuable companionship. Join us on this literary journey as we illuminate the path to understanding, one workbook solution at a time.

 

Table of Contents

Poem Summary :

The Poem in Detail

Lines 1 to 9

The poem begins with the telephonic conversation of the speaker with a potential landlady. The speaker is hoping to rent an apartment or a room. He finds the accommodation fine, as it is not too expensive and the location not bad either. Also, the landlady does not live on the premises. There is just one problem the speaker confesses. It is that he is ‘African.’

The speaker says that he has made this confession to avoid taking a trip to see the rental only to be turned down simply for being African. This shows he has had many such experiences where he has gone to see a dwelling place to be rejected only because of his skin colour.

In lines 6-9, the speaker goes on to describe the landlady’s initial response to the fact that he is African. She remains silent and there is a long, awkward pause while she ponders over the speaker’s ‘self-confession.’ In her silence, the speaker hears a ‘transmission’ from the landlady that is meaningful and carries a message. This means that since the landlady has a ‘good-breeding,’ she seems to be under pressure on how to deal with a person of African origin. Though she is well-bred, she is a racist, and her racism quickly wins over her manners.

The words ‘self-confession’ (line 4) and ‘caught’ (line 9) show that the man has faced racial discrimination because of the colour of his skin. It is an irony that he uses the word, ‘self-confession’ as he has done nothing wrong for which he should have to confess. Again, the word ‘caught’ connotes that some wrong had been done, and the speaker was caught committing something illegal. By making the man seem sorry for his skin colour, the poet shows how ridiculous it is for someone to apologise for the things he is not responsible for.

The speaker then describes how the landlady’s voice sounds after the pause when she responds to the speaker’s ‘self-confession.” Since she is ‘pipped,” her voice appears to be ‘coated’ in lipstick’, that is the landlady is trying to make herself sound good, to gloss over the deep racism and prejudice she has. From her voice, the speaker imagines that she is carrying ‘cigarette-holder’ that is ‘gold-rolled’, meaning gold plated; here it is symbolic of the wealth and privilege she has. The speaker finds that the landlady has a haughty, aristocratic voice, that displays the social and economic power she has in comparison to the speaker. The speaker feels he is caught in an unpleasant situation.

Lines 10 to 17

The landlady responds to the speaker’s ‘self-confession’ by demanding to know the speaker’s skin colour, asking if he is ‘LIGHT/ OR VERY DARK?’ The question appears to be inappropriate and deeply racist. The speaker is stunned and feels as if he is being asked to choose between ‘Button B’ and ‘Button A.’ This is a reference to the buttons on mid-twentieth century pay phones; pushing the B’ button would return the coins if whoever you were calling didn’t pick up the phone. The options offered by the landlady seems to be mutually exclusive: for the landlady, the speaker has to be either dark or light. For the speaker, there is no way to answer without acquiescing to the landlady’s racist binary.

In lines 11 and 12, the speaker describes the landlady’s ‘breath,’ calling it ‘rancid.’ Since they’re talking on the telephone, it is not possible for the speaker to literally smell her breath. It is a metaphor for the landlady’s racism that underlies her ‘good-breeding.’ The speaker is upset by her racism, makes it explicit with a pun by saying that the landlady is engaged in ‘hide-and-speak.’ Here, the speaker suggests that the landlady, like the children’s game of hide-and-seek, has been hiding her true feelings which she wants to speak about.

In lines 13-14,the speaker looks at objects surrounding him: the red phone booth, a red pillar-box (a standing mailbox used in the United Kingdom) and a red double decker bus. His description gives an image of where he is located: a public phone booth, probably somewhere in the UK. He realises that the question of colour is not new, it is already in existence. It is an inescapable part of his world and is as real as the red booth in which he is standing. Besides the literal images of red colour, the poet’s description also creates a sense of anger running through the mind of the speaker portrayed by the repeated use of the word ‘red’.

In lines 15-16, the speaker is dumbfounded by the landlady’s question. In fact he is so taken aback that he cannot talk, leave alone answer the question. The speaker feels ashamed of his inability to respond, because the ‘silence’ seems ill-mannered.” The speaker feels it is bad manners not to respond to the landlady’s question—even though he also feels that the question itself is deeply offensive. So the speaker ‘beg[s] simplification.” In other words, he asks the landlady to clarify the question. The speaker defines his act of remaining silent as ‘surrender’

In line 17, the speaker describes the landlady as ‘Considerate.” she However, is not considerate, she is only increasing the intensity of her racist question

Lines 18 to 26

In lines 18-23, the speaker is no longer dumbfounded and begins to mock the landlady’s obsession with the colour of skin. The speaker finally understands what the landlady is asking-the speaker describes that ‘moment’ as being a ‘revelation. Then the speaker asks the landlady a clarifying question : Is she asking whether his skin is like plain or milk chocolate?’

She agrees with the speaker after thoughtful consideration in a cold, impersonal manner. Then, the speaker’s entire approach to the conversation changes rapidly.’ In line 22, the speaker finally responds to the landlady’s question and describes himself as West African sepia’ which is officially endorsed in his passport.

After the speaker responds to the landlady’s question, there’s another ‘silence’ an awkward pause in the ongoing conversation between them. In this ‘silence, the landlady tries to figure out what the speaker means, by imagining a range of different colour options. The speaker calls this a ‘spectroscopic/ Flight of fancy.’ A spectroscope is a device that separates the colours in beam of light; the landlady is going through the different possible colours one by one in her mind.

Finally, the landlady gives up and asks harshly : WHAT’S THAT?’ The speaker has confused her : first there’s ‘silence,’ then ‘truthfulness clanged her accent.’ In line 26, the speaker explains to the landlady that sepia is like brunette’-a dark brown hair colour.

Lines 27 to 35

The landlady doesn’t give up. In line 27, referring to the speaker’s description, she demands, THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?’ Despite the speaker’s best attempt to confuse her, she remains fixated on her original question: she understands racial identity in terms of a choice between ‘DARK’ and ‘VERY LIGHT”.

In the next lines of the poem, the speaker criticises the landlady for her prejudices based on race and identity. The speaker then says that it is not that he has a single, uniform skin colour. Facially’ the speaker is brunette,’ but, the palm of his hands and the soles of his feet are peroxide blonde. ‘Peroxide blonde describes bright yellow hair—usually dyed, rather than natural. It is also notably associated with White women—perhaps a symbol of White femininity.

To confuse her further, the speaker declares that his ‘bottom’ is a different colour, ‘raven black.’ The landlady now knows that she is neither going to rent 10 the speaker, nor to listen to him—she can just hang up. In lines 32-35, the speaker recognises this and implores the landlady not to hang up. If she were to do so, it would be, the speaker says, a ‘thunderclap’— i.e., a catastrophe.

The speaker asks the landlady, ‘Wouldn’t you rather/See for yourself?” i.e., the speaker is asking the landlady to judge whether the speaker is DARK … OR VERY LIGHT” with her own eyes.

The poem’s final line is then only half as long as the rest of the lines in the poem, which strongly suggests that the landlady simply hangs up the phone.

Workbook MCQs :

1. The price of which of the following is the speaker talking about in the first line of the poem?
(a) A journey
(b) A rented accommodation
(c) Cigarette-holder
(d) None of the above.

Answers :- (b) A rented accommodation

2. Which of the following is NOT an issue with the speaker for renting the accommodation?
(a) Price
(b) Location
(c) Residents
(d) Privacy.

Answers :- (c) Residents

3. Which of the following confession is made by the speaker?
(a) He is from America
(b) He is from Africa
(c) He is as black as raven
(d) He is not dark.

Answers :- (b) He is from Africa

4. What does the ‘self-confession’ by the speaker suggest?
(a) He pre-empts a racist prejudice from the lady
(b) He pre-empts a hike in the rent
(c) He feels himself as inferior to the landlady
(d) None of the above.

Answers :- (a) He pre-empts a racist prejudice from the lady

5. How does the speaker want to prevent ‘a wasted journey?
(a) By asking the lady to come and see for herself.
(b) By clearing the issue through telephonic conversation.
(c) By sending someone to clear all the issues.
(d) None of the above.

Answers :- (b) By clearing the issue through telephonic conversation.

6. Which figure of speech is used in the line given below? ‘Silence. Silenced transmission of…”
(a) Simile
(b) Metaphor
(c) Personification
(d) Polyptoton.

Answers :- (d) Polyptoton.

7. What is suggested by the phrase ‘Lipstick coated?
(a) The lady is trying to hide her racist prejudice
(b) The lady is trying to hide her own identity.
(c) The lady is trying to be extra-cautious
(d) None of the above.

Answers :- (a) The lady is trying to hide her racist prejudice

8. What is referred to by the landlady’s ‘rancid breath?
(a) Harsh voice
(b) Ignorance
(c) Knowledge
(d) Hypocrisy.

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

9. What is indicated by the colour ‘red’ in ‘Red booth. Red pillar-box and Red double-tiered Omnibus?
(a) Hypocrisy
(b) Annoyance
(c) Ignorance
(d) Knowledge.

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

10. What colour is ‘West African sepia?
(a) Black
(b) White
(c) Red
(d) Dark Brown.

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

11. Which figure of speech is used in the given line? ‘You mean—like plain or milk chocolate?”
(a) Metaphor
(b) Personification
(c) Alliteration
(d) Simile.

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

12. Due to which ‘truthfulness’ docs the landlady change her accent?
(a) She does not know about the colour ‘West African sepia’
(b) She is not aware about the speaker’s race
(c) She is being too harsh
(d) None of the above.

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

13. Which colour are the palms of speaker’s hands and soles of his feet?
(a) West African sepia
(b) Brunette
(c) Peroxide blonde
(d) Raven black.

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

14. What reason does the speaker give for his bottom being ‘raven black?
(a) Harsh weather
(b) Continuous sitting
(c) Standing in the sun
(d) None of the above.

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

15. Which figure of speech is used in the line give below? “Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap.’
(a) Assonance
(b) Onomatopoeia
(c) Simile
(d) Alliteration.

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

Related Posts

Complete The Sentences :

1. For the speaker in the poem, the accommodation he wants to rent is all right because its Price is affordable, location is not bad and guaranteed privacy and freedom as the landlady lives off the premises.

2. The speaker makes a confession at the beginning of the poem because of his past experience he believes that the landlady may be prejudiced against him for the dark colour of his skin and will not rent him her place.

3. The speaker’s confession about the colour of his skin can be described as ironic because the speaker has done nothing wrong that he should have to confess, especially when it is related to the colour of his skin.

4. After the speaker’s confession, the lady remains silent for remains silent some time and he seems to hear a ‘transmission’ from her because in her silence he can understand that behind her ‘good-breeding’ she is hiding her racist approach towards him.

5. The voice of the lady has been described by the speaker as ‘Lipstick coated’ because For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

6. The speaker repeatedly uses the word Red as in ‘Red booth’, ‘Red pillar-box’ and ‘Red double tiered/ Omnibus’ becausFor Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

7. The speaker’s reference to the lady as ‘considerate’ is an example of verbal irony because For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

8. The speaker describes his face as ‘brunette’, his hands and feet as ‘peroxide blonde’ and his bottom as ‘raven black’ because For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

9. The landlady shows double standards because For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

10. The speaker plead with the landlady to see for herself because For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

Short Question Answers :

1. What is the speaker’s confession? Why does he make such a confession? How is it received by the landlady?

Answers :- The speaker’s confession in the poem “Telephone Conversation” is that he is African. He makes this confession during a phone call with a potential landlady because he feels compelled to disclose his race due to the racial prejudices that are prevalent. The confession is met with a stunned silence from the landlady, which signifies her shock or discomfort upon hearing this information. This silence is loaded with meaning, revealing the societal prejudices and discriminatory attitudes towards race. The landlady’s reaction underscores the racial tension and the discrimination that the speaker anticipates and experiences in his daily life, reflecting the broader societal issues of racism and bias.

2. Why is there a ‘silence’ after the speaker confesses that he is African? What is suggested by ‘Silenced transmission’?

Answers :- The silence after the speaker confesses that he is African signifies the landlady’s shock or discomfort upon learning his race. This pause represents a moment of judgment and the landlady’s internal struggle with her prejudices. The term ‘Silenced transmission’ suggests an awkward, heavy pause that breaks the flow of conversation, highlighting the impact of racial revelation on communication. It implies a sudden interruption where the normalcy of the conversation is halted by the landlady’s preconceived notions about race. This silence is indicative of societal attitudes towards race and the discomfort or bias that often accompanies such interactions, emphasizing the pervasive nature of racial discrimination.

3. When the lady finally speaks after a pause, what does the speaker make out about the woman? Was he correct in his assessment?

Answers :- When the lady finally speaks after the pause, the speaker discerns that she is fixated on his skin color rather than his qualifications or character. This fixation reveals her racial prejudice and narrow-mindedness. The speaker correctly assesses her as someone who is more concerned with the superficial aspect of race than with who he is as a person. His assessment is confirmed by her persistent questioning about the exact shade of his skin, which underscores her bias. This interaction highlights the superficial and discriminatory nature of her inquiry, reflecting the broader societal issue of judging individuals based solely on their race rather than their personal qualities or abilities.

4. What is similar between the two words ‘self-confession’ and ‘caught? What do they suggest?

Answers :- The words ‘self-confession’ and ‘caught’ both imply an admission of something perceived as undesirable or wrong. In the context of the poem, ‘self-confession’ refers to the speaker’s need to reveal his race as if it were a fault, while ‘caught’ suggests being trapped or exposed. These terms suggest that the speaker feels compelled to admit his race due to societal pressures and the anticipation of prejudice. This reveals the internalized racism and the societal expectation that one’s race should be disclosed upfront, as if it were an inherent flaw or a trap, highlighting the pervasive and insidious nature of racial discrimination.

5. How do the words ‘How Dark’ reflect the theme of the poem?

Answers :- [ For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDFView ]

6. How does the speaker feel after the landlady asks him the colour of his skin? What does he think about the lady?

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

7. Why does the speaker feel ‘shamed? What does it indicate about the speaker?

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

8. Why does the speaker feel that the lady is ‘considerate? What does it indicate about the lady?

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

9. Explain the meaning of ‘Silence for spectroscopic/Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent.’

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

10. Why does the speaker state different colours for his body parts? What is it suggestive of?

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

11. How does the setting depict the universality of the theme of the poem?

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

12. Why does the speaker plead with the landlady to see for herself? What does it tell about the speaker?

Answers :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

Long Question Answers :

1. Why do you think that the poet has chosen the title Telephone Conversation” Is he justified in choosing this title? Give reasons to support your answer.

Answer :- The poet, Wole Soyinka, has chosen the title “Telephone Conversation” to underscore the everyday nature of the interaction while highlighting the racial prejudice that infiltrates even mundane activities. The title is justified because it captures the essence of the poem’s central theme: the absurdity and pervasiveness of racism in daily life. A telephone conversation is a common, seemingly neutral event, yet in this poem, it becomes a battleground for racial tension. The title emphasizes the contrast between the normalcy of the setting and the abnormality of the prejudiced attitudes it reveals. The telephone, a tool for communication, ironically becomes a medium for misunderstanding and discrimination. The conversation exposes the landlady’s racial biases and the speaker’s anxiety about revealing his race, turning an ordinary call into a powerful commentary on racism. By choosing this title, Soyinka effectively sets the stage for a critique of racial prejudice, showing how it taints even the most routine interactions. The title also underscores the poem’s irony, as a simple inquiry about renting an apartment spirals into an uncomfortable exploration of racial attitudes, thereby justifying its choice.

2. There are intervals of silence in the interaction between the African man and the landlady. What are the reasons for this silence? Give examples to support your answer.

Answer :- The intervals of silence in the interaction between the African man and the landlady serve to underscore the discomfort and racial prejudice that pervades the conversation. These silences are loaded with unspoken tension and highlight the underlying racial biases of the landlady. For example, after the speaker confesses that he is African, there is a significant pause: “Silence. Silenced transmission of / Pressurized good-breeding.” This silence indicates the landlady’s shock or disapproval upon hearing his race, reflecting her internal struggle with her prejudices. Another notable silence occurs after the landlady asks, “HOW DARK?” This pause suggests her discomfort and perhaps embarrassment in confronting her own racial biases. These moments of silence emphasize the awkwardness and the unspoken discrimination that the speaker anticipates and experiences. They reflect the societal tension surrounding race and the difficulty of addressing such prejudices openly. The silences also give the speaker time to reflect on the absurdity and offensiveness of the landlady’s questions, adding to his frustration and sense of humiliation. Thus, the silences are not merely gaps in the conversation but are meaningful pauses that deepen the poem’s exploration of racial discrimination.

3. What is the central theme of the poem? How has the author portrayed this theme?

Answer :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

4. Do you think that the poem Telephone Conversation’ is based on the personal experience of the poet? Give reasons to support your answer.

Answer :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

5. Give a character sketch of the speaker as understood from the narrative given in the poem.

Answer :- For Full Answers Get The Workbook Answers PDF – View ]

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