Nervous Conditions - Essay

Topics: Education, Woman, Women Pages: 4 (1691 words) Published: September 8, 2011
There are several different religions and cultures in the world. Each and every one of these cultures have specific rules, mores, or traditions the members of that special group need to follow to live their everyday lives. These traditions include everything from praying before every meal like in the Christian religion to fasting for days at a time such is the case in many eastern religions. Our environment shapes who we are and who we grow up to be. In many African cultures, their simple traditions are seen as backward and wrong because they are different than what the rest of the world is accustomed to. The same must be true when they look at our traditions with our strange way of speaking, dressing, and our incessant need to impose our way of living on people we feel are lesser in stature than ourselves. In the novel Nervous Conditions set in colonial Rhodesia, the conflict between tradition and modernity is best viewed through the mother/daughter relationship of Nyasha and Maiguru through the subordination of women in their culture, their rebellion to the British education they received, and their isolation as a result of this education. Traditions are a strong part of the African culture in the novel. They dictate every action of every person in that culture, especially the women. Women are taught to think a certain way as inferior, subordinate, underneath the men of their culture. The main character Tambu has the unfortunate task of holding a basin of water for her relatives to wash the dirt from their hands. She has to know which relative to offer the water to first because the order is very specific. The men and head of the tribe go first as do all other males in the family and lastly the females. Confusion was created for her when several of her relatives have more than one role and should come before or after someone else. She later is criticized for her lack of knowledge in performing what the males think is a very basic ritual. Women are below the men...
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