Summary of Nervous Conditions

Topics: Nervous Conditions, Convent, Mission District, San Francisco, California Pages: 4 (1672 words) Published: February 5, 2013
Nervous Conditions Summary

Nervous Conditions Summary
The narrator, Tambudzai, Tambu for short, begins this story at the end: "I was not sorry when my brother died." That happened in the year 1968, and the first chapter sets the context for that event. In anecdotal style, Tambu looks back at the year 1965, when her father decided that Nhamo, Tambu's older brother, would go to the mission school and live with Babamukuru, Tambu's uncle. She remembers how her father was always grateful for the generosity of his brother, who had educated himself and thus found financial success. He and his wife, Maiguru, moved to England with their children,Nyasha and Chido, for five years. Without Babamukuru's generosity, the narrator's family struggled financially. Mr. Matimba, Tambu's teacher, advises her to sell the maize she grows in her garden to the Whites in town. They end up taking a handout from a white couple. Under Mr. Matimba's advice, Tambu gives the money to the school headmaster to keep safe, so that she can use it to pay her school fees for the next few years. Despite her father's protests and attempts to get the money for himself, the headmaster keeps the money and uses it to help Tambu in her education. When Babamukuru and his family returned from England, Nhamo and his father take the trip to meet them at the airport and Tambu and her mother scramble to find the provisions for a feast. Tambu is suspicious of her cousins Nyasha and Chido because of their Englishness; they seem like snobs. After dinner, in a meeting of the family patriarchy, Babamukuru reveals that he is worried about Jeremiah's branch of the family, and insists that Nhamo go to live with him at the mission school so he can be more committed to his studies. After the first year away, Nhamo has changed perceptibly. His physical presence has become more anglicized, but he also claims to have forgotten how to speak Shona. The narrative jumps ahead again to 1968, when Babamukuru arrives to report...
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