Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Nervous Conditions '

Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Nervous Conditions '

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The excerpt from Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga on page 105 was chosen to further look at the racial disparities that occur within the novel. Using intense connotation, shifts in tone, and punctuation, Dangarembga addresses a multitude of issues. At its most basic, this paragraph highlights the main character’s brainwashing, draws on the hierarchy of skin color, and, more generally, opens up discussion on ethnic privilege. On a more personal note, this passage was chosen for highlighting the racial awareness that white people tend to lack.
The most innate tension within this passage occurs in the heavy connotations of different words as well as the juxtaposition. The initial use of one of these dichotomies is superiority vs. youth/immaturity. Future Tambu determines that because she was young not only could she make not good decisions on whom to be inferior to, but she really had no choice. Thus she felt compelled to submit to all other superiorities, specifically white people. The wording throughout the sentence consisting of these two differing words makes it seem as though she was being held to an expectation. As young as she was at the time, the reader can assume that she feels a simple black and white justification for opinion. This particular opinion could be influenced by Tambu’s beloved role model, Babamukuru. Finally there is the use of “guilty” and “unnatural”, which Tambu uses as self-descriptors in relation to her not innately loving white people. The feelings Tambu describes bespeak the expectation of everyone at the mission to be appreciative of what the whites had given them. This speaks to the more general idea of the Africans submission to whites as the Africans the missionaries had converted and helped...


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...from. In fact, future Tambu tells the reader her disposition greatly differs from the current one. This inner tension between the two Tambus further develops the strained relationship between white people and black people throughout the novel. The reader can sense an upheaval is coming, yet it is never shown.
Within the novel, this passage picks out the racial disparities that exist within colonial Zimbabwe on the turning point of power change. Historically speaking, Rhodesia will experience a great change in racial hierarchy. This novel speaks to this radical change by telling the story of Zimbabwe as it has come to be. Beginning with independence, yet a simpler life then introducing white people as an authority figure while becoming more educated and upping the standard of living before finally realizing the wrongness of white supremacy and ultimately changing it.

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