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Im supposed to write a text analysis on a novel. the prompt is attached below. i have already finished with the essay i hope. i  need help with organization and proof reading and also anything that can be corrected so as to achieve a good paper . Thank you.  

Nervous Conditions is a novel written by Tsitsi Dangaremgba. This title functions as an allegory for the battles for education, voice, and self that various women experience.  This is especially true under the interacting forces of patriarchy and colonization. Tambudiza, the main character, suffers from a nervous condition that stems from her anxiety about her identity, what it means to be educated, and the worries about the constant changes in her life.

Despite these troubles in which Tambu finds herself, she copes in three different ways: entrapment, escape and rebellion. Nervous Conditions provides a key insight into the fact that African women?s lives are confined in suffocating social or familial spheres.  In this situation, when or their own rightful and affirmative spaces are assaulted, it is difficult for society at large and the dominating males, particularly, to have restful mind or maintain a spot- less home, no matter its size and beauty. The novel in its entirety captures the dramatic clash between western culture and traditional civilization, and the struggles this clash imposes on one subjugated to this situation.

Tambu, a fourteen-year-old girl faces triple oppression, mainly of race, gender and class. Tambu grew up on the family homestead, impoverished, uneducated and eager to be free from her father?s misogynistic assessment of his daughter?s worth by her ability to clean, cook etc. We see this when he says to her  "Can you cook books and feed them to your husband? Stay at home with your mother. Learn to cook and clean. Grow vegetables."(Dangaremgba, Pg. 15) This is a clear example of Jeremiah's (her father?s) traditional Shona belief that women do not need to be educated. It represents the patriarchy that Tambu faces on her quest towards empowerment. Meanwhile, her aunt, Maiguru, is educated and has no use for her degree because colonial society expects her to be a devoted wife and mother. "When I was in England I glimpsed for a little while the things I could have been, the things I could have done if - if - if things were - different - But there was Babawa Chido and the children and the family. And does anyone realize, does anyone appreciate, what sacrifices were made? As for me, no one even thinks about the things I gave up."- Dangaremgba, Pg. 103.This is Maiguru's uncharacteristically bitter response to Tambu when she is surprised to learn that her aunt holds a Master's Degree. As a woman, Maiguru has had to sacrifice the opportunities she earned by educating herself. She?s entrapped by this patriarchal notion that she has to stay home and take care of her household. Although she has the same degree of education as her husband, no one shows respect to her and they only do to her husband. This divide demonstrates the deep-rooted gender inequality in both Shona and colonial society in Rhodesia during this time.  This seeks to portray double colonization i.e .. Being subjected to both the colonial domination of empire and also the male domination of patriarchy. That the women suffer under throughout the novel.

Mai?shingya, Tambu?s mother is under absolute subjectivity and has even accepted this patriarchal lifestyle. "This business of womanhood is a heavy burden."- Dangaremgba, Pg. 16

Tambu's mother explains to her daughter that, "when there are sacrifices to be made, you are the one who has to make them." This point of view demonstrates the generational gap between mother and daughter. Ma'Shingayi has accepted her fate as a servant to the men in her life, Tambu wants more. Tambu thinks she is worth more than just being a bearer of a burden, and this drives a wedge between her and her mother. We also see this entrapment in the physical spaces Tambu found herself in both geographically and bodily. Her movement through the tertiary space of the homestead, mission and the convent. She was always entrapped in babamukuru?s household and also in her own thoughts, In having to simultaneously fight and embrace both traditional and westernized culture, Tambu has many anxiety attacks that characterize the intersectional experiences of many African women.

 Furthermore, For Tambu, the mission stands as a bright and shining beacon, the repository of all of her hopes and ambitions. It represents a portal to a new world and a turning away from the enslaving poverty that has marked Tambu?s past. It serves as a place of exile for Tambu. The mission is an escape and an oasis, a whitewashed world where refinement and sophistication are the rule. It is also an exciting retreat for Tambu, where she is exposed to new ideas and new modes of thinking. The mission sets Tambu on the path to becoming the strong, articulate adult she is destined to become. Tambu escapes from poverty and also the stereotype that women have to stay home and work in the kitchen. She also escapes from the education she was never going to have, to the education that was given to her by Babamukuru. Even as the mission seems to be a way of escape for Tambu. She, along with the other female characters in the novel turn to rebellion as their only solution to get out of this ruthless culture.

"It's bad enough when a country gets colonized, but when the people do as well! That's the end, really, that's the end."- Dangaremgba, Pg. 150

This is Nyasha's reaction to Tambu when Tambu suggests that Christianity is "evidence of the nature of progress" from Shona traditions. Nyasha's reaction demonstrates her awareness of the effects of colonialism; she is scolding Tambu for embracing the colonial mindset that Christianity is "progress," rather than an equally absurd replacement for the Shona traditions..

Nyasha?s role in the novel is to give us an understanding of the deeper consequences of Westernization that Tambu too impoverished and preoccupied with securing the survival of her family is not ready to face until the very end of the novel. The contrast between Nyasha and Tambu highlights the necessity of culture and tradition under the influence of Western education, and the toxicity of losing touch with one?s roots. Under these circumstances, Nyasha, who is afforded far more luxury and leisure than her cousin, questions many social issues that are at stake in their colonial world, and her voice aids Tambu?s development as she grows up under this system. Nyasha?s breakdown towards the end of the novel is a turning point that awakens within Tambu an awareness of the world that concludes her story, as well as her childhood. Tambu first demonstrates this will to escape when she refuses to go to her parents wedding. "I'm sorry, Babamukuru, but I do not want to go to the wedding."- Dangaremgba, Pg. 169

These words mark Tambu's first time standing up for what she wants, speaking out against her uncle. She has become so anxious about the impending wedding between her parents that she cannot get out of bed the morning she is supposed to leave for the homestead. So she tells Babamukuru what she wants, and is punished for it by fifteen lashes and two weeks of taking over Anna's maid duties. But she is proud of herself and feels emancipated, since she spoke up and didn't have to attend. Her decision not to attend her parents wedding comes from her anger at Babamukuru for blaming her parents unofficial marriage for the family's bad luck, and is compounded by her embarrassment about Babamukuru labeling her parents as sinners.

Nyasha?s efforts at rebellion represent the violent inner conflict between traditional and Western values that are constantly at battle within both Nyasha and Tambu.

Tambu finally comes to a realization that the colonial education system created a culture of subjugation - where Africans learned to believe that they were inferior, and then aspired to live by Christian values. ?Quietly, unobtrusively and extremely fitfully, something in my mind began to assert itself, to question things and refuse to be brainwashed, bringing me to this time when I can set down this story. It was a long and painful process for me, that process of expansion.? When she arrives at the convent school, though, it becomes clear that her colonial education will continue to subjugate her because she is an African. To the white children, education is a right, and the Africans are taught to see it as a privilege. Looking back, Tambu recognizes that this system enforces a colonial power structure but at the time, it seemed a great opportunity and certainly does allow her to build a life outside of her family's poverty.


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Dec 18, 2020





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