Nyasha Character Analysis

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The secondary protagonist in Nervous Conditions and Tambudzayi’s cousin Nyasha, is one of the more complex characters of the novel. I will delve into her character to try to find her defining characteristics. These characteristics will be used to analyse her problems with food and her private rebellion in the family. This essay aims to explore her provocative and passionate behaviour, but also her rational and profound thinking. The exploration of these characteristics will show how they and the environment around her contributes to how she grows as a person and how her problems grow with her. Nyasha is a multidimensional character who is a product of two worlds: Shona and Western culture. Nyasha was born and grew up in Rhodesia and Shona…show more content…
For Nyasha it is obvious that as a woman, she should have every right to do everyday things. For instance, she comes home late one night after spending some time with her cousin Tambu, her brother Chido and people of the opposite gender. This results in her father having an outburst of rage and condemning her to whoredom. Nyasha then defends herself after Babamukuru hits her by “punching him in the eye.”(117). Nyasha is a passionate person and since it is self-evident to her that she should be able to have a fun night out with her friends, rebellion against a surely unjust punishment comes natural to her. Her emotional, provocative and passionate side comes alive every time she feels persecuted by society’s norms or her culture’s patriarchal views. Another example of Nyasha rebelling against her life situation is when she is arguing with Maiguru, her mother, over a seemingly inappropriate book that her mother stole from her. Babamukuru orders Nyasha to sit down, to stop talking back to her mother and to eat up but “instead of sitting down she walked out of the dining-room.”(85). Nyasha is a strong-headed person and she does not tolerate someone taking away her rights. In this case the simple thing of reading a book. She refuses to accept that just because she is women, it is deemed indecent to read a book containing sexual content. To conclude, Nyasha…show more content…
Throughout the novel on numerous occasions we get clues and comments about the plaguing eating disorder that Nyasha suffers through. Very rarely does anyone other than western women get eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, but since Nyasha has been to England were fashion and society impose these ideas of slim is good and plump is bad, she has also been exposed to them. An example of where we get clues as to the developing eating disorder is when Tambu is characterising Nyasha and thinks “She was looking drawn and had lost so much of her appetite that it showed all over her body in the way the bones crept to the surface”(109). The intersectional build up of imposing western ideas, colonialism, sexual discrimination and losing her roots finally clash and the complexity of everything makes it hard to be taken head on. Therefore Nyasha resorts to her studies and her body which she can control. Another example of the eating disorder is when Tambu arrives to the mission state after being away for six months and Babamukuru forces Nyasha to finish an entire plate of food, after which she excuses herself and Tambu follows her to hear “retching and gagging from the bathroom.”(202). Nyasha in this case obviously purges her stomach of the food she was just forced to eat. Almost as if eating food becomes a symbol of eating her father’s governance, Nyasha cannot
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