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.
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.
...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)