Nervous Condition: English Influence and Guilty by Association


A nervous condition is defined as a tension between two things. These things can vary from church and state, tradition vs modern, gender roles, etc. One nervous condition that I discovered while reading is the nervous condition experience by Tambu regarding her feelings towards Babamukuru and his family going to England. Tambu views Babamukuru in a very elevated way. She looks up to him and has an almost god like admiration towards him. When Babamukuru and his family come back from England Tambu has negative feelings towards her cousins. “My cousins Nyasha, pretty bright Nyasha, on the other hand, obviously had. There was no other explanation for the tiny little dress she wore, hardly enough of it to cover her thighs…Catching me examining her, she smiled slightly and shrugged. ‘I shouldn’t have worn it,’ her eyes seemed to say. Unfortunately, she had worn it. I could not condone her lack of decorum. I would not give my approval. I turned away” (37). Tambu does not agree at all that her cousin is wearing a dress completing alien to her culture. And even though her other cousin, Chido, is dressed more appropriately, she has a hard time approving of him as well. “I remember disapproving of my cousin Chido as well as Nyasha that day. although I do not know why I disapproved of Chido, who was innocuously if smartly dressed in shorts and shoes and socks. I think it was not anything to do with him as a person, but with the fact that he was Nyasha’s brother” (37). It is interesting to see that while Tambu approves of the education Babamukuru has received from England, she doesn’t approve of the influence it had on Nyasha and that she doesn’t approve of Chido simply because he is Nyasha’s brother. Those mixed feelings cause a very interesting nervous condition for Tambu.

In our society today, one of the biggest nervous conditions many of us face would be that of self vs. society. What I mean by this is that in today’s world, we are constantly surrounding by social media and pop-culture. All of this stimuli gives many of us, especially those younger than us, an unrealistic expectation of relationships, body image, fashion, etc.. Many people have an internal battle every day between what they are comfortable with and what they think society requires from them. One person may not have a lot of money and are embarrassed by the clothes that they wear because it isn’t the latest fashion trend. Someone else¬†that is over weight hates how they look because they don’t have the flat stomach and thigh gap of those seen in TV, online, in magazines, etc.. Societal expectations I would argue causes one of the largest, if not the largest, nervous condition among us today. Society leads to feelings of failure, exclusion, body-shaming, etc.. Some people may feel like they will never fit in with society because they don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model or they can’t afford the latest technology. So many people become unhappy with themselves when there is nothing to be unhappy with because society expectations are simply far fetched and unrealistic for many. And that is ok. Not everyone needs to look the same, dress the same, drive the same cars, etc.. If that was the case, this world would be really boring.

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