2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

"Lucia: The Role of an Empowered Woman in Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions"
Katie A. Boes
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In her novel, Nervous Conditions, Tsitsi Dangarembga depicts her character Lucia as a woman who lives by her own set of rules despite being raised in a strict patriarchal society that has cultural norms set in place for a woman’s role in the family. Set in the 1940s, two decades before Zimbabwe’s independence, the novel depicts a society struggling to differentiate between the strong influences of Western culture and their own sense of identity and traditions. Lucia is the quintessential rebel who subverts the traditional roles of the ‘obedient wife’, the ‘dutiful daughter’, and the ‘virginal bride.’ She chooses to educate herself only in order to benefit her own life and that of her son, not her husband’s, not her father’s. As the self-sufficient female, Lucia is a role-model for her niece and the other women in her family. Drawing a parallel between Rhodesia’s internal conflict and Lucia’s fight to maintain her independent identity, this paper will show how Lucia represents the struggles and rewards of being an empowered woman in colonial Rhodesia.

Keywords: Lucia, Dangarembga, Nervous, Conditions, Patriarchal , Woman, Independent, Rhodesia

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 6-2
Location: VH 1408
Time: 9:00

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