On The Subway Analysis

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As a human being, we all tend to make decisions based on a known set of information, information that we pull from our memories. This can be very useful in some situations. For instance, crossing the road, we tend to look both ways and ensure no traffic is coming, so we do not get hurt, but when we apply this same process to meeting new people, we might tend to draw upon negative experiences and associate this negative information with someone we have never met. Be it the way they act, their tone of voice, or the way they dress, we all make decisions about someone before actually learning anything about them. If we act negatively, instead of cautiously, on these predispositions, now we have just exhibited racism or prejudice against another…show more content…
The narrator is the person applying the stereotypes this time though. Olds writes “He has the casual cold look of a mugger,” the man sitting across from her is black, and this can be construed as a stereotype, saying that all black people are muggers (Olds, ). This can also be clever word choice, to make the audience think she is talking about a stereotype; however, later on she also talks about how her white skin givers her privileges that make her life easier, in ways that he could never imagine. Another point the author tries to make, is that because of these stereotypes and prejudice, the black people of the nation are persecuted and “absorb the murderous beams of the nation’s head” (Olds, ). Soyinka uses a touch of irony within his poem, specifically when the black man gets offended by the lady asking about his skin color, when he himself just applied a stereotype to the landlady. This is ironic, because neither of these actions are acceptable, and both degrade the communications between the two, even though the lady never knows how he is truly feeling. Olds relies heavily on the use of colors and imagery to show the negative impacts of stereotypes and prejudice. When she describes how white people have advantages in the nation, and black people are the target of murderous beams, and absorb them like “black cotton” would absorb the sun. The imagery she uses is so strong, that it really drives how the point the author is trying to make, racism and prejudice are unacceptable (Olds,

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