Analysis Of Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende's Blood Work

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Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende’s short story Blood Work 2014 clearly depicts the growth in the development between the two characters, Lady Braeburn and Nothando. Their relationship is initially physically dependant due to limitations experienced by Lady Braeburn suffering from ill health and old age. The relationship develops into one of emotional dependence, as they learn to rely on each other subconsciously. Lady Braeburn is in need of comfort as she is lonely and Nothando is emotionally drained, fleeing from an unstable economic and political environment in the British colony of Zimbabwe. Lady Braeburn born under the United Kingdom Empire, known as the British Isles is fortunate to have access to a “native” caregiver from Zimbabwe. The relationship…show more content…
The title of the short story Blood work is a clear reflection of the journey upon which they have embarked. “She is tired of the dependency that has stripped her of her dignity, the dignity that comes with only you knowing the colour of your bodily waste and the state of your private parts.” (Mhangami-Ruwende 146) Lady Braeburn is frustrated, bad tempered and argumentative in her old age for various reasons, despite the loneliness which she endures as her only son George is totally disinterested in her wellbeing and companionship, Lady Braeburn has physical dependencies where she is reliant on caregivers to assist her and this has stripped her of her dignity. Lady Braeburn has also endured horrific physical experiences by previous black caregivers which have influenced her opinion and attitude towards them. “Lady Braeburn is tired of the manhandling hands, different hands: some gentle, some rough, some cold and some warm.” This is also indicative that Lady Braeburn has experienced a great deal of change late in her life due to the physical dependencies on others. Lady Braeburn is frustrated and portrays her bad tempered nature through physical force: “ …. Lady Braeburn flung her supper tray off her lap with a force…” (Mhangami-Ruwende 139) Nothando, as an…show more content…
Lady Braeburn was further offended and became irate when Nothando resorted to using white latex gloves when clearing her bowels. Nothando as an educated person knew this was the requirement. As the short story unfolds, Nothando and Lady Braeburn experiences an understanding and closeness in the relationship which initially was cold and distant. “We share a drink in silence, save for the sounds of her swallowing.” (Mhangami-Ruwende 147) There are many quotes supporting the change in attitude of both Nothando and Lady Braeburn and the emotional growth in their characters where respect, loyalty and compatibility are visible. Loyalty on Nothando’s behalf, as she does not take instruction from George to give additional unknown medication to Lady Braeburn as she is unaware of Lady Braeburn consulting with a doctor. It was challenging for Nothando to leave Zimbabwe and work under the identity of Stephanie Edwards originating from Peckham, London to secure employment in the country. “I giggle at the absurdity of using someone else’s name.” (Mhangami-Ruwende 141) Nothando is shocked when Lady Braeburn shows affection by taking Nothando’s hand in hers and asks: “What is your real name?” (Mhangami-Ruwende 147) This happened rather
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