There is a change in volume sensed in the dialogue, ranging from silence to quite loud, namely when the landlady speaks. The irregularity of the volume helps to create tension between the two characters. The line length is slightly irregular, ranging from eight to twelve syllables per line (except the final line). This contributes to an irregular rhythm. The poem is in the form of continuous verse, which is often used for dialogue and stories; it suits this poem as we get to hear the feelings of the man and the dialogue between the two characters, so that we can identify the racism and prejudice easily.
The tone varies throughout the poem depending on what the man is saying, when he uses humour he creates a sarcastic tone, e.g. ‘Considerate she was, varying the emphasis’ (line 17), which emphasises his annoyance and shock over her questions to him. The man also creates ironic tones, for example, when he says ‘Down in my passport’. Direct tones are established when the man speaks directly to the landlady, such as ‘You mean like plain or milk chocolate’, and also tense tones depending whether there is dialogue, description or the man’s emotions.
Throughout the poem there is absence of the definite article ‘the’. The very first word of the poem is ‘the’ and that is the only place it is in the entire poem, it is sometimes substituted by a pronoun such as ‘her’ to highlight that it is associated with the landlady, e.g. ‘sensing her receiver rearing on the thunderclap about my ears’. The lack of the definite article in other parts of the poem (an example of elision), together with the lack of verbs emphasises the man’s shock, e.g. ‘Stench of rancid breath of public hide and seek’, and it makes the poem less formal and more direct. Whenever the landlady says anything, her words are in capital letters, this is to highlight them in the poem as she says all of the racist remarks, so the capital letters emphasises them.
The purpose for Wole Soyinka writing this poem about racism is unclear, his target audience may be just everyone, and his purpose to inform them about the racism that took place in the 1960s, and in some places of the world is still taking place today. Wole Soyinka may have come to this country in the 1960s and experienced something very similar to what he described in the poem. Wole Soyinka may see this as a stereotypical scene from the 1960s where a black man tries to settle in a white community.
Therefore Wole Soyinka creates two stereotypical characters from the 1960s and portrays racism by a number of techniques; direct speech, the Landlady’s feelings, repetition, the fact that the narrator identifies with her racism, use of dialogue, change in volume (including use of silence), rhythm and questions.
‘You Will be Hearing From us Shortly’, by UA Fanthorpe, is a poem about an interview, where the interviewer is prejudiced against the interviewee. U A Fanthorpe uses many techniques to portray prejudice and stereotypes in this poem; most prejudice is mainly shows as intimidation, as the interviewer shows his contempt for the person he is interviewing. The title ‘You Will be Hearing From us Shortly’ is a stereotypical response from a interviewer to their applicant even though they know that they are not going to contact them again
The form of the poem is irregular; there are six stanzas all of different lengths with the interviewer’s responses to the interviewee’s defence in-between. As the poem is in free verse, the informality of the form compares to the informal and colloquial style of the poem. The poem is the transcription of the interviewer; the response from the person being interviewed is not included, this makes any prejudice or stereotype said by the interviewer stand out as there is no defensive reply. The way the poem is written gives the reader the impression that the poem is a scripted dialogue, with only one side of the dialogue shown.
The six stanzas in the poem all cover different attributes about the interviewee’s application for the position. The first stanza is a general introduction where there are no prejudiced remarks. The second stanza is where we hear the first negative line from the interviewer about the interviewee. This stanza is about qualifications, and the interviewer states that ‘though impressive, are not, we must admit, precisely, what we had in mind’ (lines 6-8). This first negative comment is also the first intimidating remark. The ‘we’ is also very intimidating as the interviewer makes it appear that there are more than one of them, like the ‘royal we’.
The third stanza is about the applicant’s age, the fact that the interviewer says ‘Now your age’ shows that he is prejudiced against him/her because of their age, also the fact that he misses out the verb in this sentence, and in other sentences that are the first in the stanza gives the impression that he/she is going through a list of faults, of which the candidate has probably all or most of them. This shows his formal approach to the interview, and is another way by which he intimidates his interviewee. The list also gives the impression that this interviewer has had/is going to have many interviews, and he/she wants to go through all those which he sees are not going to have a chance at getting the job fairly quickly. The efficiency of this method may also be slightly intimidating to the interviewee, as they realise they are going through a list and there are other candidates who are probably more suitable according to this list.
The fourth stanza shows the interviewer’s contempt strongly for the interviewee for the first time; this verse describes the appearance of the interviewee, of which he is highly critical and offensive, e.g. ‘You do appreciate that this work involves contact with the actual public? Might they, perhaps find your appearance disturbing?’ (lines 18-20). The repetition of the word ‘you’ throughout the poem puts emphasis on the interviewee, and is intimidating. When the interviewer says ‘might they’ he is insulting the interviewee without actually stating a critical comment; he is merely suggesting it, although the interviewee will understand what his view is. The fact that the interviewer is going through a list of faults and appearance is on it shows that he is prejudice against people because of their appearance, opposed to their qualifications or ability for the position.
In the next stanza, the interviewer starts with a snide comment ‘And your accent?’, once again missing out the verb as if he/she is going through a list of faults. The interviewer does not say anything negative about the accent; once again he/she just implies that it is a fault. He/she is prejudiced against the interviewer because of their accent, something that they cannot help that they have, and something that should not be seen as a handicap. The interviewer offends with a question ‘That is the way you have always spoken, is it?’, which again is implying offence but not stating it. The interviewer then says ‘What of your education?
Were you educated? We mean of course, where were you educated?’ (Lines 24-27). The line ‘were you educated’ is a Freudian slip, a slip of the tongue where the interviewer reveals his opinion by accident. It may not be a Freudian slip but an intentional comment to offend the interviewer without actually insulting him/her. The ‘we’ once again is an intimidating trick, where the interviewer tries to make it appear that there is more than one of him/her. The final sentence is offensive to the place where she was educated as the interviewer asks ‘how much of a handicap is that to you?’