Nervous Condition Essay

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Analysis of Gender Inequality in “Nervous Conditions” by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Theme of gender inequality is explored by many authors in African literature portraying the African patriarchal societies during and after independence; but Dangarembga surpassed all her counterparts in her vivid depiction of this inequality that affected the societies in her master-piece novel Nervous Condition. The setting is placed in colonial Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in the 1960s and 1970s. Although the novel literary centers around Nyasha and Tambu who are cousins leading different lives in their teenage, superficially, it highlights the issue of gender inequalities in the patriarchal society where women were neglected, while men had the power to influence their lives. This novel further depicts the inequalities enhanced by imperial government and by the perpetuation of colonialism via gender dominance and class division. The theme of gender inequalities in this novel is unfolded through the unique characterization and more so the author’s personal experience in colonial and postcolonial Zimbabwe.
Dangarembga presents a cliché of women who stand up against the internal societal struggles to break the yoke of patriarchal dominance that perpetuated imposing gender inequality. The road to solving this gender inequality is a bumpy ride and acceptance in the strict patriarchal society ensures the characters pass through severe stress and rejection but ultimately there is light at the end of the tunnel as the society is gradually accosted by unstoppable force for change through determination against the odds. Women characters sojourn against the currents opposing their equality and gently in their cocoons of brooding strive to be accepted. Tambu the main protagonist is raised in poor family where the paternal uncle is well-up and had taken upon his obligation to educate his brother Nhamo. Gender inequality is depicted as Tambu is not entitled to be educated because the culture constructs...

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