Nervous Condition Essay
“Can you cook books and feed them to your husband? Stay at home with your mother. Learn to cook and clean. Grow vegetables. ” – Tambu ‘s father quote and “And these days it is worse, with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other. Aiwa! What will help you, my child, is to learn to carry your burdens with strength” . – Tambu ‘s mother quote has somehow given us a closer look about the society in African is and how patriarchy effects harshly on woman and children .
Tambu ‘s mother and father , rather than support their daughter to be strong and against the prevailing conditions that is keeping her down, they encourages her to passively accept the situation because it’s too powerful for her to control. But they are not the only characters that just sit there and let the society lead their lives to wherever it wants, most of the characters in “Nervous condition” have that thought in mind , not once , but many times and tend to do nothing to change their present “nervous condition” .
“What it is, to have to choose between self and security. But there’s no one like Nyasha , never are there anyone like Nyasha , little “big” Nyasha , the little fish swimming against the flow of water. First adjective to describe when someone first met Nyasha is : unpredictable . No one seems to understand Nyasha , nor accept her. “Everything about her spoke of alternatives and possibilities that is considered too deeply would wreak havoc with the neat plan I had laid out for my life. ” – said Tambu when she first met Nyasha , and even her long-termed mother , the one is considered to know her the most “ that child of mine has her own thought about everything” .
Nyasha is badly effected with the assimilation , in such a way that she has become the embarassment for her parents, unpredictable in the way she replied to the situation. Nyasha is highly intelligent, perceptive and her knowledge is far beyond her age. She has a wide understanding of everything , even broader than her father, which seems a really threatening issue to her father . But being a woman also means that it’s no being smart is allowed, left alone smarter than men , and worse , smarter than her father.
Babamukuru is the one making his daughter the victim of femaleness. And Nyasha has proven she’s absolutely against it by challenge Babamukuru ‘s authority and pyarchary. But because of Nyasha being a girl , Babamukuru : “she has dared to raise her fist against me. She has dared to challenge me. Me . Her father . ….. We cannot have two men in this house….. Otherwise I – will – kill – you. Everyone considered Nyasha rebellious. But that’s only a normal part of growing up in England. She just try to be herself . She’s not raised in the African culture .
So she think talking back to her parents when something she feels not right and question about rational rules they laid down on woman and children is her “right” and she strongly has the “right” to do this. One vivid example showing her distinguished , strong and sharp characteristic is the argument about reading book of D. H. Lawrence – a writer that also have ideas and opinions about modernity , about human’s right and gain much or less critics because of the way he wrote things – a writer that represented for Nyasha’s thoughts .
Such a book from a writer like that would definitely be considered inappropriate for Nyasha by adults. “It’s only a book and I’m reading it” – Nyasha-being forbidden. No African kids could ever spoke out like that . When seeing the book , Babamukuru immediately took it away from his daughter , “ She has no sense of decency ,none whatsoever”. Nyasha ‘s reaction is very vigorously after discovering her book had been taken away . “I know you wouldn’t do anything like that” “ Not without telling me . Would you ? ” “ You have no right to” “I expected- “ .
The word “ I expected” has been repeated many times. For Tambu or African kids , they have no right to “expect” from their parents to do anything , nor talk back to them in such a way like that. But in Nyasha’s English-lization mind , she has her own right to do that , that’s the academic right which her parents , the educated one , should have known that. Because of Nyasha’s “nervous condition”, she is not accepted by her own people. Students at school do not like Nyasha because they believe “She thinks she is white. ” .
That’s not true. Nyasha only believes in the independence of women, and wants to break free from her traditional burdens, but people doesn’t see her in this way . So she’s like“ has stolen the fire from God . But unable to share for the rest of her kind” . Nyasha is one of the only characters in the novel who can see through Babamukuru’s mask, and she knows that Babamukuru is only generous so he can maintain control over his family,which become dependent on his material. But it’s true. Everybody praise him as the most powerful one in the family and have to listen to him one hundred percent.
Take Lucia for ex , she had been characterized as being wild and independent, but she becomes dependent on Babamukuru. In fact, all the women kneel to him and speak his praise, except Nyasha and Tambu. “Don’t you dare”-said Nyasha, when Tambu is about to thank Babamukuru for finding Lucia a job, because unlike the rest of her family, Nyasha knows it is the very least Babamukuru could have done for Lucia after everything he had done to her. “The little fool , why does she always have to stand up to him” – quote by Chido when the physical fight between Babamukuru and Nyasha break out .
They fight each others like a man . Again , what Nyasha do , and always do , is fighting for her right , the right to speak , to do things she wants , the right to be recognized and not drawn back by anyone. But then in order to gain what you aims for , there must be consequences and sacrification. “what about me ? does anyone care what I need ? ” “Did he not know ? Did he not see ? ” Nyasha begins to resent her outspoken nature and the constant spirit of resistance she displays, particularly to her father.
The transformation leads to self-hatred, a dangerously negative body image that results in an eating disorder, and mental illness. Later in the novel, Nyasha suffers from anorexia due to the sheer trauma she has suffered at home, and the lack of care together with the ashame of her father upon her. This is very significant because it shows that even a well-respected, honourable, educated man such as Babamukuru still can’t have the easier look about prejudice upon women. “. Even heroes like Babamukuru did it.
And that was the problem” “… ondemning Nyasha to whoredom, making her a victim of her femaleness, just as I had felt victimised at home in the days when Nhamo went to school and I grew my maize. The victimisation, I saw, was universal. It didn’t depend on poverty, on lack of education or on tradition. It didn’t depend on any of the things I had thought it depended on. Men took it everywhere with them. Even heroes like Babamukuru did it. And that was the problem. You had to admit Nyasha had no tact. You had to admit she was altogether too volatile and strong-willed. You couldn’t ignore the fact that she had no respect for Babamukuru when she ought to have had lots of it.
But what I didn’t like was the way that all conflicts came back to the question of femaleness. Femaleness as opposed and inferior to maleness. ” . Finally, Tambu , being close to Nyasha and study from her for a while , has realized the how unfair her society is and how patriarchy has played an important role in a woman ‘s life. Finally , Tambu , the only Tambu , has understood what Nyasha did and what she did it for , to feel sympathy to her , to feel sorry for her , to admire how strong-willed she is and credit her enormous effort in stepping forward and making change.