Nervous Conditions

Major themes

Gender

Gender and patriarchal oppression encompass one major theme expressed in the novel. The Rhodesian female characters are oppressed on the basis of gender, and this is a driving force behind many of the story arcs in the novel.

Colonialism

Colonialism is another major theme in the novel - it is another driving force behind many of the plot points, including the fixation on (Western) education and Nyasha's internal struggles with race and colonialism. Additionally, Tambu's trajectory starting with her early education and ending with her acceptance at the nun's school reveals the colonial nature of that scholarship, since the African students were not treated the same as the white Western students.


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