October 6, 2008
Conditions We Deal With Everyday for ‘Freedom’.
In Tsitsi Dangarembga’s novel Nervous Conditions the author Depicts Nyasha, the daughter of rich educated Babamukuru, as a troubled hybrid character who can’t accept herself due to her internal struggle with hybridity. Looking to gain insight and self-awareness based on her mixed cultural background, Nyasha challenges herself to take control of her own life. The statement in the introductory paragraph of Nervous Conditions, “The condition of a native is a nervous condition.”(From an introduction to Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth). Clearly relates to Nyasha’s eating disorder, her own identity crisis in the Rhodesian colonial setting, and her psychological issues with hybridity.
Nyasha develops bulimia and then ultimately diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. Nyasha’s self induced illness is a symbol of the issues and burdens that burry deep down and manifest inside each character’s soul. “Nyasha quote "But it's not that simple, you know, really it isn't. It's not really him, you know. I mean not really that person. It's everything, it's everywhere. So where do you break out to? You're just one person and it's everywhere. So where do you break out to? […]By the time of her breakdown, she declares, "They've trapped us. They've trapped us. But I won't be trapped. I'm not a good girl. I won't be trapped." (Dangarembga p.200-201) Nyasha reaches out for something in her life she can control; she acts out in rebellion against the patriarchal view of woman best influenced by her father. She begins to starve herself taking away the power any man would have had over her. Nyasha develops the illness to trademark her English socialization, and to reject her traditional responsibilities as a woman. Anorexia is a disease most commonly found in women living in Western developed countries. The idea of a woman’s worth in Western countries is much different than the...
Irene Marques, “Nervous Conditions” LBST 1D01 Ls one, Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto, Sept. 22 2008.
Dangarembga, Tsitsi. Nervous Conditions.
Oxfordshire: The Women’s Press LTD, 1988.
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