Eng2603 Assignment 1

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Kimeshri Reddy – 50062778 ENG2603 – Assignment 01 – poetry and Nervous Conditions Submission Date: 1 September 2014 The contexts in this module represent the different ways in which colonial tools define characters and their experiences. The English language and Christianity are two particularly powerful colonial tools. The essay shows Ntsikana kaGabha’s poem, “Ntsikana’s Bell”, and Tsitsi Dangarembga’s novel, Nervous Conditions, depict the impact of these tools. This essay shows that neither English nor Christianity is represented in an unproblematic manner. The discussion also proposes that these are political instruments in colonial contexts and that the authors highlight the complexities surrounding these tools’ utilisations. In…show more content…
For instance, Tambu notes that only their father “was impressed by this inexplicable state her brother had developed”. By pointing out the alienation that results from a colonial education and language, the novel therefore offers a critique of these colonial tools rather than simply representing their utilisation. The novel establishes this critique by engaging a conflict between, on the one hand, the narrator who presents the drama of Nhamo’s homecoming and, on the other hand, his family members’ expressions of dismay at his sudden change in appearance and attitude. A cautious approval of an example of a Western colonial tool is also apparent in Ntsikana kaGabha’s poem, “Ntsikana’s Bell”. First and foremost, it is imperative to recognise the context that this poem conjures up. The references to Christian fellowship are repeated throughout: “Sele! Sele!” – explained in the paratext as a “call to worship”, the title’s “bell”, “the Word of the Lord”, ‘the call’ and “heaven”. The call-and-response mode of this poem, suggested in the motif, Sele! Sele! Ahom, ahom, ahom! implies a form of communal incantation or prayer session. It is as if the reader hears the poem’s speaker engaged in a dialogue or two-way communication with the audience, reminiscent of a Christian church service. This is a context where the minister, upon appealing to the worshippers to heed God, hears them responding in

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