2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Escaping the Burdens of Womanhood
Sarah E. Tschiggfrie
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions presents us with a powerful example of a young African girl, Tambu, trying desperately to escape the “weight of womanhood” forced upon her by traditional Shona patriarchy and pressing influences of colonialism. Throughout the novel Tambu questions the social forces that cause the “entrapment” of women and searches for ways to escape the feminine burdens so many other women are resigned to carry. María Lugones’ philosophy of “world traveling” found in her book Pilgrimgaes/Peregrinajes, provides deeper insights into Tambu’s journey towards liberation. For Tambu, surviving as a woman means accepting the life handed to you; Tambu spends time in this world, but refuses to live there. Struggling through her own world traveling, Tambu sees there are no simple answers to the attitudes and traditions of the homestead, but simply submitting to the world of colonialism is not the answer.

Keywords: Maria Lugones, Tsitsi Dangarembga , womanhood, world traveling

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 38-2
Location: VH 1320
Time: 1:30

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