Nervous Conditions


Tsitsi Dangarembga

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The Dover Stove Symbol Analysis

The Dover Stove Symbol Icon

Maiguru's Dover stove, which she brings with her to the homestead to cook with during holidays, makes it clear to everyone that Maiguru's immediate family is superior and successful. It's often used to cook food specifically for the most revered members of the family, as when Mainini uses it to cook rice instead of sadza for Babamukuru and the patriarchal family members. This reinforces the prestige of the family members who eat this food, as well as the specialness of the stove itself. When Babamukuru gives the stove to Jeremiah and Mainini as a wedding gift, Mainini conceptualizes the stove as a symbol of her family's power: by owning one of Maiguru's most prized possessions, the barrier to the power as represented by the stove (Maiguru) is removed altogether, and Mainini can assume some of that power.

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The Dover Stove Symbol Timeline in Nervous Conditions

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Dover Stove appears in Nervous Conditions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Three
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Obedience vs. Independence Theme Icon
...the women cook ten gallons of sadza and a small pot of rice on Maiguru's Dover stove for Babamukuru. The women dish up dinner for the patriarchal relatives. (full context)
Chapter Seven
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...adults to wash, which takes hours. Then, they cook breakfast and boil tea on Maiguru's Dover stove . After cleaning up, the girls have to fetch water from Nyamarira. When the girls... (full context)
Chapter Nine
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
...daily. Mainini is secretly thrilled, as she doesn't want to share her house or her Dover stove . (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
...Mainini. She finds Mainini in the kitchen, cooking on the hearth in spite of the Dover stove . Tambu shares the good news, but Mainini sighs bitterly. She asks if Babamukuru is... (full context)