Nervous Conditions

by

Tsitsi Dangarembga

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England Symbol Analysis

England Symbol Icon

For Tambu and many of her family members, England is a faraway and almost magical land that symbolizes success, prestige, and affluence. It's where Babamukuru and Maiguru received their advanced degrees and where Nhamo eventually wants to go to school. Later, when Nyasha begins to struggle with eating disorders and ask difficult questions about colonialism, she suggests that England is actually a symbol of the oppressive colonial system in Rhodesia. Because of her time in England, Nyasha finds herself unable to properly conform to traditional ways of being—yet, because she's black, Nyasha can't be properly white and Western either. England then becomes her scapegoat and signifies her oppression, loss of identity, and inability to function in Rhodesia.

England Quotes in Nervous Conditions

The Nervous Conditions quotes below all refer to the symbol of England. 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 Three Quotes

Whereas before I had believed with childish confidence that burdens were only burdens in so far as you chose to bear them, now I began to see that the disappointing events surrounding Babamukuru's return were serious consequences of the same general laws that had almost brought my education to an abrupt, predictable end.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Nyasha, Nhamo, Chido
Related Symbols: England
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Five Quotes

"Maybe that would have been best. For them at least, because now they're stuck with hybrids for children. And they don't like it. They don't like it at all. It offends them. They think we do it on purpose, so it offends them."

Related Characters: Nyasha (speaker), Tambu, Babamukuru, Maiguru, Chido
Related Symbols: England
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

"I thought you went to look after Babamukuru," I said. "That's all people ever say."

Maiguru snorted. "And what do you expect? Why should a woman go all that way and put up with all those problems if not to look after her husband?"

Related Characters: Nyasha (speaker), Maiguru (speaker), Babamukuru
Related Symbols: England
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
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England Symbol Timeline in Nervous Conditions

The timeline below shows where the symbol England appears in Nervous Conditions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Two
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Colonialism Theme Icon
...crop that year is poor, and there's no money for school fees. With Babamukuru in England, there's no chance of asking him for money. (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Colonialism Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
Tambu asks her family members about the events surrounding Babamukuru's departure for England, as she doesn't remember it. Babamukuru purportedly didn't want to leave the mission, as he'd... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...marries, but Tambu went to school for the next two years, and Babamukuru returned from England during her second year. (full context)
Chapter Three
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Colonialism Theme Icon
...Tambu feels that Nyasha grows dimmer every time she sees her, and she feels that England changed her. One day, Nyasha behaves especially horribly: she refuses sour milk after asking for... (full context)
Chapter Five
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...friends. She admits that she was worried since Tambu was rude when she returned from England. Tambu, speaking in Shona, says she was just disappointed that Nyasha and Chido only spoke... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Colonialism Theme Icon
Morosely, Nyasha says that she and Chido shouldn't have gone to England, as Babamukuru and Maiguru are now "stuck with hybrids for children" and don't like them.... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...is flattered, though sarcastic when Tambu notes that people only say that she went to England to look after Babamukuru. Tambu, still awed, comments that Maiguru must earn lots of money... (full context)
Chapter Six
Colonialism Theme Icon
...forget what she's fighting for if she waited. She says that she was comfortable in England, and that's turned her into a whore now. She thinks that she needs to make... (full context)