Significance Of The Title Through Argument
The significance of the title, Nervous Conditions, can be seen throughout the novel, including the very first paragraph. One recurring event that displays this significance is the arguments between Nyasha and her father, Babamukuru. Each and every time Nyasha begins to disobey her father, not only do the characters in the story begin to feel nervous but we, the readers, do as well. Tsitsi Dangarembga is able to achieve this through the way Tambu describes Babamukuru through out the book. Because of Tambu’s detailed descriptions of Babamukuru, the reader knows that anyone who does something against his strong values, or what he says in general, will anger Babamukuru. This knowledge allows the reader to know that the second Nyasha acts in a way that is against what Babamukuru values in a decent girl or woman, his anger will take over.
The main argument between Nyasha and Babamukuru, which sets the tone for all of the following arguments, begins on page 114, when Babamukuru asks Nyasha why she came home so late from the dance. As Nyasha talks back to her father more and more, the anxiety begins to build. When she exclaims, “I wasn’t doing anything wrong!” (115), Babamukuru becomes furious and the situation becomes nerve racking for everyone involved. After this exclamation, Tambu describes the conditions:
The atmosphere in that room was growing hostile, the communication tangential. Voices were rising and threatening to break. Scrambling out of bed I knew I had to do something, because you could see that they were out for each other’s blood. I woke up Maiguru, did not have to explain much because we could hear them accusing each other and retaliating, condemning bitterly and stubbornly resisting, all the way down the passage. Maiguru climbed out of bed, and put on her dressing-gown and slippers, muttering all the while about her nerves and how the inmates of her house would be the death of her…(115)
This last passage exhibits the nervous conditions of this argument and situation, bringing in the significance of the title. The first sentence directly reveals the anxiety of the moment, but the language that is used, such as scrambling out of bed and muttering all the while about her nerves, gives even further insight into the mood from Tambu and Maiguru, who are not actually apart of the conflict. Dangarembga even has Tambu include that Maiguru was complaining about her nerves.
Though there are many arguments that follow this one, the language that Tambu uses to describe this particular situation, and the dialogue between Babamukuru and Nyasha, reveal the significance of the title, Nervous Conditions.