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In the novel Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, the theme of female rebellion is displayed throughout the book and can be seen

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Introduction

In the novel Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, the theme of female rebellion is displayed throughout the book and can be seen by the characters Nyasha and Maiguru. The main cause of their rebellious act is their struggle with female oppression. The colonized education that Nyasha and Maiguru receive initiates the awareness that women are living in oppressed conditions. This essay will set out to discuss that even though a woman is educated, she is forced to be inferior to men. Nyasha is a young black African girl who spends her formative years in England receiving an education. Nyasha experiences assimilation into a new English culture. However, with no education in her Shona language or identity in her African traditions and customs, Nyasha gets a sense of alienation from her native African culture when she says, "They do not like my language, my English because it is authentic, and my Shona because it is not."(p196) Her school mates dislike her for her white mannerisms and she has no Shona mannerisms to fall back on. ...read more.

Middle

Babamukuru links obedience to the eating of food. The effect on Nyasha is loss of appetite. Babamukuru looks at this at disrespect, "She must eat her food, all of it. She is always doing this, challenging me. I am her father. If she doesn't want to do what I say, I shall stop providing for her fees, clothes, food, everything."(p189) Nyasha appeases her father and eats the food, however she throws up the food right after. She uses bulimia as a rebellion against male domination proving she can't and won't be controlled. The act of female rebellion is also displayed by Nyasha's mother, Maiguru. Maiguru is in a better position then Nyasha because she is highly educated and is well aware of her native land and culture. However Maiguru's education is hidden. She does not have the opportunity to use it because of the overwhelming patriarchy that takes place and allows for the continuation of feminine oppression, even on women with high education. Maiguru continues to be the accepted good woman who is silent, modest, and obedient but who does aspire to use her education. ...read more.

Conclusion

Now we are into the seventies. I am disappointed that people still believe in the same things."(p181), Babamukuru had no choice but to listen. The novels main theme of modernity is education. The concept of the newer colonial English education is the cause of the main characters rebellion. Nyasha gets caught in the modern education and it leads to her breakdown. Nyasha realizes she is stuck in the middle, "I'm not one of them but I'm not one of you."(p201) Nyasha has no memories of traditions and customs to silence her voice. This is a major disadvantage for Nyasha because she is only behaving by what was taught to her. This novel displays that being modern does not indicate people will be happy or advance in life. Maiguru was educated but that led to her outlook on her culture and traditions to evolve. Maiguru received her English education late in life so she would never be totally free of her oppressed way of life, but by encouraging Tambu to attend Scared Heart she is starting a change in the cycle. Tambu is young enough that she has a firm sense of her identity and to mix that with a colonial education she will not end up in exile as Nyasha did. ...read more.

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