Language and the “Weight of Womanhood”

This isn’t a new discussion, I’m just moving my old post from the comments area into a new post.

Questions for discussion Fri. Sept. 7th:

1) Something that stuck out to me was the use of Tambu’s native language throughout the novel with little explanation of the meanings of these words. Tambu also expresses a lot of anger when she finds out that her cousins and her brother have forgotten Shona (pg. 42, 53). What role do English and Shona play in the novel? What is the significance of Tambu’s own story being narrated in both English and Shona?

2) Another quote that has stuck with me as we continue to read is from Tambu’s mother’s speech early on in the text about the “burden of being a woman” where she ends with “As these days it is worse, with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other” (pg. 14) How does this tension play out in the lives of the other women in the novel? Even though Miaguru is kind of alienated from the rest of her family because of her education, is her situation (or Nyahsa’s) really better off or different from the other women?


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