Nervous Conditions

by

Tsitsi Dangarembga

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Lucia Character Analysis

Lucia is Mainini's younger sister. Unlike Mainini, Lucia is unmarried, and, until Tambu goes to the mission, lived with her parents in relative freedom. This means that Lucia is very independent, able to think for herself, and has no qualms about having sex when and with whom she wants—though this also earns her a reputation as a loose woman and possibly as a witch. She comes to the homestead when Mainini becomes pregnant to help out, where she soon begins sexual relationships with Takesure and with Jeremiah. When she becomes pregnant with Takesure's baby, it causes a number of problems within the family, mostly because Babamukuru is incensed that nobody will listen to his instructions and about Jeremiah's desire to claim the baby as his own and take Lucia as a second wife. Being so headstrong, Lucia refuses to let the men make decisions about her without consulting her, so she interrupts the family meeting to tell the truth—that neither Takesure nor Jeremiah are good or honest men—and to threaten to run away with Mainini. This earns her the respect of Nyasha, who believes in women's liberation. A few days after Mainini gives birth, Babamukuru finds Lucia a job as a cook at the mission school. There, Lucia is also able to attend school for the first time, which gives her a sense of direction, agency, and purpose. She remains a powerful force in Mainini and Tambu's lives; when Mainini becomes ill following the news that Tambu will attend Sacred Heart, Lucia visits the homestead to jolt Mainini into wellness and taking care of herself.

Lucia Quotes in Nervous Conditions

The Nervous Conditions quotes below are all either spoken by Lucia or refer to Lucia. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Lynne Rienner Publishers edition of Nervous Conditions published in 2004.
Chapter Seven Quotes

Although she had been brought up in abject poverty, she had not, like my mother, been married to it at fifteen. Her spirit, unfettered in this respect, had experimented with living and drawn its own conclusions. Consequently, she was a much bolder woman than my mother […].

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Mainini, Lucia
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

But the women had been taught to recognize these reflections as self and it was frightening now to even begin to think that, the very facts which set them apart as a group, as women, as a certain kind of person, were only myths; frightening to acknowledge that generations of threat and assault and neglect had battered these myths into the extreme, dividing reality they faced, of the Maigurus or the Lucias.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Mainini, Maiguru, Lucia, Patience
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:

"Because she's rich and comes here and flashes her money around, so you listen to her as though you want to eat the words that come out of her mouth […] I am poor and ignorant, that's me, but I have a mouth and it will keep on talking, it won't keep quiet."

Related Characters: Mainini (speaker), Tambu, Maiguru, Lucia, Patience
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eight Quotes

I simply was not ready to accept that Babamukuru was a historical artifact; or that advantage and disadvantage were predetermined, so that Lucia could not really hope to achieve much as a result of Babamukru's generosity; and that the benefit would only really be a long-term one if people like Babamukuru kept on fulfilling their social obligation; and people like Lucia would pull themselves together.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Nyasha, Lucia
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lucia Character Timeline in Nervous Conditions

The timeline below shows where the character Lucia appears in Nervous Conditions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...insists that the story isn't about Nhamo's death as much as it's about her and Lucia's escape, Mainini and Maiguru's entrapment, and the many rebellions of her cousin, Nyasha. (full context)
Chapter Three
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...Rambanai and has already lost four babies. Some people believe that this is her sister Lucia's fault, as she's unmarried, almost past her prime, and could give Jeremiah more children. Her... (full context)
Chapter Seven
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...and Takesure are out. Babamukuru is shocked; he apparently asked that Takesure and "that girl," Lucia, leave the homestead a while ago. Lucia herself appears and explains that Takesure and Jeremiah... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
Tambu wishes Lucia would be quiet, as her situation is serious: Tambu's maternal grandparents have always been very... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Colonialism Theme Icon
Lucia insisted that the baby is Jeremiah's, which Jeremiah says isn't true: he waited to have... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
Lucia greets Maiguru warmly and then leads her to the house, while Babamukuru unlocks the trunk.... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...when Nyasha is getting married. The adults talk about Nyasha's future, which annoys Nyasha. Finally, Lucia interrupts and begins the formal greeting process. (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...the new year, Babamukuru calls a family meeting to discuss the issue of Takesure and Lucia. It includes only the patriarchal family members and Takesure. Babamukuru begins by going over the... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...outdoor kitchen, furious. Mainini rants that the patriarchs are going to make it seem like Lucia impregnated herself on purpose and says it's unfair not to include Lucia. Patience agrees and... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Maiguru distantly says that the matter doesn't concern her, as neither Lucia nor Takesure are her family. Mainini asks why Maiguru is even in the kitchen if... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Lucia tries to calm Mainini, but Mainini won't have it. Mainini insists that Lucia doesn't know... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
Lucia manages to convince Mainini to go to the house to listen in on the meeting,... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...rest of the women gather and whisper outside. Takesure resumes his tale and says that Lucia refused to leave with him. Lucia tries not to laugh. Babamukuru takes Takesure seriously until... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
With Takesure's head held at waist height, Lucia addresses Babamukuru. She asks if Takesure is truly a man when he spews this nonsense,... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Back outside, Tambu worriedly tells Lucia that if she takes Mainini, Tambu will have to come back to the homestead. Lucia... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The next morning, Tambu shares everything she heard with Nyasha. Nyasha is pleased for Lucia and amused about the wedding. She asks about the ceremonies that Jeremiah proposed, but Tambu... (full context)
Chapter Eight
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
After waving goodbye to Babamukuru, Maiguru, and Nyasha, Takesure invites Lucia to sleep with him that night. She refuses, reminding the men of her plan to... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Colonialism Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
Tambu is disappointed with Lucia, especially since she fears that her relationship with Takesure will only increase the amount of... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...March, Mainini comes to the mission hospital and has her baby, a healthy boy. Coincidentally, Lucia arrives on the bus a few hours after he's born, and soon the entire family... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
The next day, Lucia reminds Babamukuru that she only came to the homestead to help Mainini and then suggests... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
Lucia celebrates and sinks to her knees to thank Babamukuru for his generosity. Mainini joins and... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Colonialism Theme Icon
Eventually, Nyasha and Tambu take their argument to Lucia. Lucia says that Babamukuru wanted to be asked, so she did, and now everyone is... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...the end of September. He extends the house to accommodate guests and names Tambu and Lucia bridesmaids. One day in August, Babamukuru fetches Mainini, Tambu, Nyasha, and Lucia to take them... (full context)
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...parents will love it. She can't make herself believe it, however; Mainini doesn't care and Lucia doesn't either. Tambu can't sleep for nights on end and feels she has no choice... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
On Saturday, Nyasha decides to help with the laundry. As they scrub the white clothes, Lucia stops by to visit with Farai. She assumes that the shirts belong to boyfriends and... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
Babamukuru finds this funny and laughs after Lucia leaves. Maiguru, however, explodes. She tells Babamukuru that she's tired of him taking her money... (full context)
Chapter Nine
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Colonialism Theme Icon
...Tambu refuses as she's afraid that Mainini will actually curse Babamukuru. Eventually, Jeremiah sends for Lucia. Lucia ignores Takesure and sets to work setting Mainini right. (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
First, Lucia walks Mainini to Nyamarira. To make Mainini get in the water and wash, she puts... (full context)