Tambu’s and Nyasha’s Reaction to the Patriarchy in Nervous Conditions

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Nervous Conditions is concerned with women who live in a traditional African society in Zimbabwe (former Rhodesia), who struggle to find their place in the patriarchal system and who search for their independence. Each female protagonist in the novel finds her own way of dealing with her situation; however, this essay focuses on two characters-Tambu and Nyasha whose response to the male power is very different. While Tambu escapes from the environment of inequality in order to seek her liberation, Nyasha chooses to resist the patriarchy but her rebellion against her father ends up tragically as she suffers from the nervous conditions. The theme of female struggle against male dominancy is presented throughout the novel and the narrator,…show more content…
He is her guardian at the mission and because he provides for the whole family he demands to be even more respected than Tambu’s father did. As Tambu is the narrator of the novel one reads her thoughts and senses how important Babamukuru is for her. She knows she is depended on him and she would do anything not to lose her right to be educated. However, in his house she loses her rebellious spirit that once went to the city to sell the maize and she only follows his commands without complaining. Under his supervision her social status does not change as she is still growing up to be a good wife “because there is nothing that pleases parents more than to see their own children settled in their own families” (89) as Babamukuru says. So even the education is getting her ready for the marriage. Although she leaves the poverty of her village where she is predestined to cook and take care of the house in order to become a good wife, she only escapes to a higher level of the same social stratification where in addition she also gets the education that prepares her for her marriage role. The education is for Tambu more important than anything else as she sees in it the only way of changing her status, and therefore she is being so obedient. However, she stands up to Babamukuru one time when she disagrees with the wedding organized for her parents as she refuses to attend. When she does that Babamukuru considers her very disobedient and she
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