The significance of Nyasha in "Nervous Conditions" involves her apparent rebellious nature and her reluctance to accept the norm. Her unwillingness to conform to the ideals of a sexist society perpetuates her into a constant struggle against the patriarchal system. She may have lost the fight in the end but it's not to no avail because her example goes on to encourage Tambu to carry on in her wake. Nyasha is important because she is a shinning example of the effects of colonialism on the African population, she influences Tambu's own rebellious nature, and she's one of the few that rebel against the patriarchal system.
Nyasha's situation also illustrates the effects of colonialism on people. Nyasha falls victim to the adverse effects of colonialism as she tries to gain a European education while trying to keep her Shona roots. This leaves her a hybrid of the two cultures where she remains separate from both: "I am not one of them but I'm not one of you." (p. 201). She is not allowed to foster the values she acquired in England, and she is unwilling to submit to the established patterns and traditions of subjugation that are apparent in the Shona society, so she becomes alienated from both social groups. Nyasha then reacts to her isolation by trying to control every aspect of her life possible. She becomes anorexic to control her figure and studies constantly trying to attain perfection in academics: "Nyasha grew weaker by the day. She weaved when she walked and every night was the same. Although we were on vacation she studied fourteen hours a day to make sure that she passed her "O" levels."(200) This "nervous condition" has been brought upon by the English who have chang...
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...alternate view of the Shona society. Her values are a hybrid taken from both the English and Shona cultures and subsequently she is isolated from both cultures that will not accept her. This isolation leaves her vulnerable and she falls victim to anorexia as she tries to control her life. Her struggle against Babamukuru also serves to show that women are not submissive naturally but that this attitude only comes about because women are brainwashed into believing they are inferior. She never gives in and her resilience influences Tambu to become more assertive, and although Nyasha rebellion may not have been entirely successful, her struggle does live on through Tambu who now refuses to be brainwashed and will fight for social equality.
Dangarembga, Tsitsi. _Nervous Conditions_. Seattle: Seal Press, 1988.
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