Nervous Conditions Analysis

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Nervous Conditions is a partially autobiographical novel by Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga that takes place in Rhodesia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It focuses on the themes of race, class, and gender through the eyes of Tambu, the young female protagonist. The title references Jean Paul Sartre 's introduction to Frantz Fanon 's 1963 book The Wretched of the Earth, in which he writes, "the status of 'native ' is a nervous condition introduced and maintained by the settler among the colonized people with their consent." Dangarembga expands Fanon 's exploration of African people oppressed by a colonial regime by incorporating the gender-specific role of black women, who are arguably doubly oppressed. The women in Dangarembga 's novel grapple with "nervous conditions" borne from years of colonialism as well as the continued oppression under the Shona power system. The theme of remembrance permeates the novel, especially in the case of Tambu 's grandmother, who teaches Tambu about the history of women 's oppression in Zimbabwe. These "history lessons," which provide the basis for Tambu 's identity, would never appear in a colonial textbook - much like Dangarembga 's unique narrative. I will take you on a journey of exploration where the focus will be on how the class and racial narratives of the novel mediate the gender struggles by analysing the character of Nyasha and Tambudzai. The first word of the novel is “I” and this tells us that we have a first person
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