Nervous Conditions

by

Tsitsi Dangarembga

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Maiguru's house girl. Tambu meets her for the first time during events surrounding Nhamo's funeral, and though she generally likes Anna, she also finds her unserious and too talkative. Tambu initially thinks that she'd like to sleep with Anna at Babamukuru's house rather than Nyasha. However, within a few hours of Tambu's arrival at the mission, Anna becomes an entirely different person. She speaks few words to Tambu, and when she does speak, it's with respect, deference, and honorifics. Eventually, Tambu comes to think of Anna as boring and just a part of the background. To an outside observer, it's clear that Anna isn't treated particularly well in her position. Her workload is extensive and, when Tambu misbehaves, Babamukuru lays off Anna without warning so that Tambu can assume her duties as punishment.
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Anna Character Timeline in Nervous Conditions

The timeline below shows where the character Anna appears in Nervous Conditions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Four
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...will be like at the mission. She wonders if she'll sleep with Nyasha or with Anna, Maiguru's house girl. Tambu is uncomfortable with the possibility of sleeping with Nyasha, as Nyasha... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
...to the house, two huge dogs appear out of nowhere and bark. Tambu yelps as Anna comes around the corner of the house, explaining that the dogs are tied. She shows... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
Anna shows Tambu to the living room to wait for Maiguru, who is resting. Tambu hopes... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...off. She stands up and looks out the window and watches students stroll around outside. Anna explains that it's the school bell. Maiguru appears and greets Tambu strangely with a high-five.... (full context)
Chapter Five
Colonialism Theme Icon
Tambu doesn't have a chance to explain this to Nyasha, as Anna appears and kneels in the door. Nyasha snaps at her to stand up, but Anna... (full context)
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...begins to help Babamukuru serve himself. Babamukuru gets to the third dish and discovers that Anna forgot to make gravy. Nyasha leaps up to make it, and Maiguru puts the rest... (full context)
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...use her knife and fork. After a few minutes, Maiguru rings a bell and asks Anna to bring sadza and a spoon for Tambu. Tambu finds all of this embarrassing. (full context)
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
A few minutes later, Anna kneels in the doorway and tells Tambu that she's wanted in the living room. She... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
Despite this belief, Tambu engages in her own thought experiments. She thinks of Anna, who used to be interesting and is now just boring. Tambu also wonders about Maiguru,... (full context)
Chapter Seven
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...and everyone prepares for a fight. Surprisingly, Nyasha agrees and the family heads off with Anna and as much food as will fit in the car. Maiguru grumbles that a half... (full context)
Chapter Eight
Colonialism Theme Icon
...He calmly tells Tambu how disappointed he is. He whips her fifteen times and sends Anna on a two-week leave so that Tambu can assume her chores as punishment. Tambu performs... (full context)