Important Questions Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 Poem

Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4: Poem – Telephone Conversation Important Questions

We have seen throughout the centuries that literature in various languages has been used to promote equality, brotherhood, and friendship among people. English literature, too, has always touched upon various social issues, and many poets have written great verses to highlight the negative effects of social ills in the minds of common people. Class 11 English Woven Words is a great satire that has captured the cloudy brains of people infiltrated with ignorance and racism. Perhaps, the inclusion of social matters into literature and poetry could be too abstruse for students to understand for the exam. To overcome this difficulty, students can refer to a few important questions and notes, such as important questions in Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 Poem, to kickstart their preparation for the ideas and concepts mentioned in the poem.

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Extramarks’ set of important questions The Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 Poem is quite efficient for helping the students recognise the key concepts necessary for the exam. Students will score well in the exams. All the important questions and solutions have been put together by teachers and poetry experts who have carefully scrutinised and collected the questions by going through NCERT textbooks, CBSE solutions, CBSE important questions, CBSE sample papers, etc. The Chapter 4 Poem Class 11 English Woven Words important questions firmly follow the guidelines of the CBSE and NCERT answers for Grade 11 English.

Many study resources are available to students after registration on the Extramarks website. These resources are NCERT solutions, key revision notes, CBSE sample papers, and CBSE past years’ question papers.

Important Questions: Chapter 4: Poem – Class 11 English Woven Words – With Solutions

Learning about poetry based on social issues can be daunting for students who may get confused about the poem’s central idea. Therefore, it prevents students from providing meaningful explanations in exams. However, with the regular practise of Extramarks’ English Woven Words Class 11 Chapter 4 Poem important questions, students can easily write well and score good marks in the exams.

Below are some important questions Poem with detailed solutions for Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4

Question 1. State the central issue in the poem.

Answer 1. “Telephone Conversation” is a piece of satirical poetry that revolves around the theme of racial discrimination. A black person requires a room on rent. He calls the landlady about a room advertised to be available for rent. The white landlady is publicly against racism, but ironically, once she learns that the person asking for the room is black, she tries to know if he is partially black. The man replies that his palms and soles are white, which confuses the lady, and she hangs up the phone.

The central idea is based on the prevalence of racial discrimination among black people, who have suffered for years. Instead of discussing important information such as rent and why the person needs a house to live in, the landlady is more concerned about the colour of that person’s skin. It highlights the ignorance of a general racist attitude towards black people and how disappointed the black man is because he has been rejected by many landowners for an apartment to rent since he is black.

Therefore, the poem expresses people’s negative and discriminatory behaviour towards black people and the helplessness black people face after racial persecution.

Question 2. There are intervals of silence in the interaction between the landlady and the prospective tenant. What are the reasons for this?

Answer 2: The speaker tells the white landlady that he is a black man. She becomes silent after this and then asks absurdly about the degree of blackness. The situation reveals the hypocritical nature of people who have racially prejudiced minds. The white landlady wants to appear decent and supportive towards the black person, but unfortunately, she harbours feelings of bias against the race of black people. However, the speaker counters the situation by confusing her about the colour of his skin. The white landlady is perplexed and feels inferior to the intellect of the black person. The entire poem satirises the hypocritical nature of the white landlady towards the black tenant looking for a room to rent.

Question 3. How is colour highlighted in the poem and why? List all the words in the poem that suggest colour.

Answer: Color has a significant symbolic meaning throughout the poem. Firstly, it emphasises the differences in the skin colour of the landlady and the prospective tenant, and how these differences have extended beyond just skin colour. Skin colour has taken over people’s minds and made them ignorant of the plight of people of colour, giving rise to racial discrimination in society.

The poem uses many colours, such as black, white, red, brunette, milk chocolate, gold, and brown. Some of the colours have been used to give meaning to many situations in the poem. For instance, the colour red describes the bus, the pillar box, and the telephone booth. It also signifies the poet’s colour, black, unlike the white landlady. The phrase “gold-rolled” describes the privileged class of people who are “fair-skinned.”

Question 4. Which are the lines in the poem that impressed you the most?

and why?

Answer 4: The phrase “West African sepia” was highly impressive and interesting. The phrase was a reply to indirect interrogation by the white landlady about the colour of the skin of the prospective tenant. The man did not want to describe himself by using the word “black”. Therefore, he indirectly told the landlady that he was black by emphasising that he was West African.

The phrase impressed me because it creates an atmosphere of humour and disappointment. The phrase is subtly humorous as it mocks the intellectual superiority of prejudiced people. However, the words also signify the inferiority complex that develops among people due to constant exposure to discrimination. The black man chose to hide his identity to get a room on rent.

Question 5. You know what ‘hide-and-seek’ is? What would ‘hide-and-speak’ mean?

Answer 5. The words “hide” and “speak” are used in the poem to signify the inferiority complex black people have developed due to continuous racial discrimination. Black people faced discrimination by fair-skinned people considered more civilised, educated, and intellectual.

Question 6. What happens at the end of the telephone conversation?

Answer    6. The entire time, the landlady tries to confirm the race of the black person. When she finally knows about it, she decides to end the conversation. The black man tells the landlady that some of his parts are not black, although he belongs to the African race. However, the lady’s mind is clouded with prejudiced ideas about black people, so she refuses to listen to anything else in the telephone conversation. The man could not convince her to meet him and rent a room for him.

Question 7. Certain words in the poem are in capital letters—why?

Answer 7: There are a few words that have been put in capital letters. The white landlady spoke the words on the phone when she indirectly tried to inquire about the black man’s skin colour. The words have been capitalised to emphasise the prejudiced mind of the white landlady. She doesn’t directly put the question of skin colour in front of the black man. However, she continued to ask questions about the degree of the colour, whether it was light, dark, brown, etc.

It highlights the hypocritical nature of the white landlady. On the outside, she appeared to be a decent person against racial discrimination, but on the inside, she held judgmental notions and discriminatory attitudes towards people of the black race. Instead of knowing about the tenant’s behaviour, intellect, and rent he could afford, she was more concerned about the colour of his skin.

Question 8. Why do you think that the poet has chosen the title “Telephone Conversation”? If you were to suggest another title for the poem, what would it be?

Answer 8: The title of the poem “Telephone Conversation” is apt as it portrays the difference in the treatment of two people of different races. Many landowners have rejected the black man’s request to rent out an apartment due to the discriminatory mindset of the people. The white landlady continuously questions him to know the colour of his skin. The entire conversation on the telephone denotes major societal evils such as discrimination, prejudice, and racism.

Question 9. The power of poetry lies in suggestion and understatement. Discuss this with reference to the poem.

Answer 9: The meaning of the word “understatement” is to present something in a less manner than it is. If one judges another person’s intellect based on skin colour, it is considered an understatement. The way the white landlady is reluctant to rent her house to a black person and consistently asks questions about the colour of his skin proves that she considers the race and colour of the person more influential than the wisdom he possesses. Therefore, the landlady is ill-mannered, and ironically, the insulting questions directed towards the black person are an insult to themselves.

Question 10. Why did the poet consider the lady polite?

  • The landlady refused to rent a room to a black man.
  • The landlady asked about the colour of his skin without using the word “black.”
  • She refused to meet him in person.
  • None of the above

Option (2) The Landlady asked about the colour of his skin without using the word “black.”


  • Option (2) is correct. The poem is satire, and the poet considers her a decent person because she at least did not directly ask him about his race. She indirectly inquired about the degree of the colour of his skin.
  • Option (1) is incorrect. The lady refused to rent the room to the poet because he was black. The poet considered it an ill-mannered and discriminatory attitude towards him.
  • Option (3) is incorrect as the white landlady refused to meet the poet in person despite all the pleading. The poet was disappointed with the racial discrimination he faced yet again.

Question 11. Notice these expressions in the poem and guess their meaning from the context.

  • rancid breath
  • squelching tar
  • A spectroscopic flight of fancy
  • waiting for the thunderclap
  • brunette 
  • peroxide blonde
  • Clinical assent
  • Raven black

Answer 11. Below are the expressions and their corresponding meanings:

  1. Rancid breath: rancid means something repugnant. The lady’s voice is vile because it sounds unpleasant due to her prejudiced nature.
  2. Squelching tar: Squelching means to suppress forcefully. Tar is a distilled liquid from wood or coal. The phrase is used to describe the poet’s skin colour.
  3. Spectroscopic flight of fancy: Spectroscopy describes the emission or dispersion of light into seven colours. The phrase describes the range of thoughts in the mind of the white landlady after talking to the poet. She gradually realises she has less knowledge than the man on the other side of the phone.
  4. rearing on the thunderclap – The unexpected and shocking occurrence of thunder.
  5. brunette – olive skin and dark brown hair
  6. Peroxide blonde: Peroxide is a bleaching chemical. The phrase describes the artificially bleached palms and soles of feet.
  7. Clinical assent—The landlady’s voice sounded clinical, as if she was replying to the poets after intense thoughts and inspection.
  8. Raven black – The Raven is a very dark-colored bird.The phrase is used to describe the skin colour of dark-skinned people.

Question 12. What did the poet mean when he said he had a wasted journey in the poem?

  • The black man wasted his time searching for other rooms.
  • The black man was not given a room on rent because of prejudice against his race.
  • He never faced any problems searching for a room.
  • all of the above.

Answer 12. Option (2): The black man was not given a room on rent because of prejudice against his race.


  • Option (2) is correct. The poet was refused a room whenever the apartment owners came to know his skin colour. That is why he has always had a wasted journey while trying to find accommodation.

Question 13. Who was the first African to win the Nobel Prize in literature?

Answer: Wole Soyinka received the Nobel Prize in the field of literature in 1986. He was the first African to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

Chapter 4: Poem in Class 11 English Woven Words

Comprehending poems that require knowledge of social issues and identifying central ideas is a complex task, and that is why students could lose marks in poetry for having such themes. We always recommend students try solving important questions as much as possible to solidify their skills in presenting the meaning of the questions related to poetry in the most logical way possible.

Students can refer to important questions in Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 Poem to practise their answering skills in the exam.

Here are some benefits of Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 Poem important questions:-

  • Students will learn to present objective answers to questions requiring an explanation of the meaning of lines within the poem.
  • Students will learn about the structure of poetry they are learning by solving additional important questions.
  • The Important Questions Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 Poem includes explanations of solutions that the students can easily understand.
  • All solutions are structured according to the NCERT guidelines and will help students get through the poetry section of the examination.

Students can learn from other study materials besides important questions like Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 Poem. The complete study materials, such as NCERT book solutions, sample papers, and past years’ question papers, become accessible to students after registering on the website. Students can utilise the study materials fully to complete their exam preparation from the links given below. –

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What makes the Extramarks set of important questions so Is Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 Poem a Legitimate Study Resource?

Extramarks is a dependable online learning platform for students to harness the abundance of study materials to perform well in exams successfully. The important questions and the solutions on the Extramarks website have been mindfully chosen by experts in the English literature and are based on CBSE answering guidelines. All solutions are original and free of piracy. That is why the Important Questions for Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 4 poem are safe and useful for studying. Students can access the solutions to the questions after registering on the Extramarks website.

2. What study resources will be useful to understand the summary of the poems?

Poetry consists of well-defined meanings and themes necessary to understand for writing logical answers in exams. Students can read the poem and learn about the author from the NCERT textbook. The textbook contains many end-text questions to help the learner become well-versed with the various ideas within the poem. Besides, students can browse key revision notes and CBSE notes consisting of line-wise explanations of the poem on the Extramarks website after registration.