"Telephone Conversation" qualifies as a piece of literature because it demonstrates both a universal message and an excellence of form. The universal message is that people who have a darker skin tone had more obstacles/hardships in their lives than those who are lighter. It has an excellence of form because of the way it was written, such as manner in which certain things were omitted. It also is written in a way that I can only describe as "rushed". The text reads well, and doesn't waste any time conveying its message.
Skin tone, in the 1960's, was a major factor in many places. In "Telephone Conversation" a man is trying to convince a woman to show him an apartment so that he may rent it. She asks him what color he is, and when he tells her, she automatically turns off (like as if there is a thick wall between her and the phone, like that blank look you see in peoples eyes when they have made up their mind and you cant change it. Then she repeatedly asks him if he is light or dark. That is all that matters to her, and because he is dark, he doesn't get the apartment.
The form of this piece qualifies as excellent. Phrases such as "I said" or "She said" are omitted to give you the impression that this conversation is happening right now, in the present. In place of these are capital letters which indicate that the landlord is speaking and normal text format to indicate that the man is speaking. Also, capital letters are often used to indicate harshness. The woman is being harsh on the man, and the capital letters double as an indicator of her tone of voice.
While reading this piece, I felt as if I were right there, in that cramped little telephone booth with him. I was so close that I could feel his heart rate quicken as he becomes just a little distressed, feel the muscles in his jaw clench as he bi t his lip and told himself to say the right things, and not the wrong things. I think I was sensitive to all of this because of the "rushed" way in which this was written.