Analysis Of The Novel ' Nervous Conditions '

1258 Words Sep 28th, 2015 6 Pages
In the novel Nervous Conditions, Tsitsi Dangarembga explores the concepts of power and oppression. Speaking up about oppression can liberate a person, so the people in charge do not want the oppressed to speak up. In Nervous Conditions, males have much more dominance in life than females. Maiguru, Nyasha, and Lucia all attempt to stand up for themselves against oppression, with little success. Dangarembga develops the characters Maiguru, Nyasha, and Lucia in order to convey how speaking out against oppression is necessary but not sufficient to gain power.
Nyasha vocally resists when she feels oppressed because she refuses to accept being controlled. However, as a child, she must defer to her parents whether she likes it or not. Early in the novel, Maiguru questions if Nyasha should read Lady Chatterly’s Lover, a book that contains many Western themes and ideals, because “that’s not very good…[she doesn’t] want [her] to read books like that”. Nyasha retorts, “What’s all the fuss about anyway? It’s only a book and I’m only reading it” (75). The controversy of Lady Chatterly’s Lover causes Maiguru to label it as “not very good”. Italics place extra emphasis on the words “book” and “reading”, because these two words are associated with gaining knowledge, and therefore gaining power. Maiguru does not want Nyasha to gain power in the form of ideas that might cause her to rebel against her parents. Nyasha’s confrontational attitude about the book reaffirms Maiguru’s belief that it…
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