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Nervous Conditions | Study Guide

Tsitsi Dangarembga

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Nervous Conditions | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 1960

    Babamukuru leaves for England.

    Chapter 2
  • December 1962

    Tambu grows maize to pay school fees.

    Chapter 2
  • 1965

    Babamukuru returns from England.

    Chapter 2
  • 1965

    Tambu first leaves for boarding school.

    Chapter 3
  • November 1968

    Nhamo dies; Tambu is 13.

    Chapter 3
  • January 1969

    Tambu moves to the mission.

    Chapter 4
  • December 1969

    The family discusses Lucia and Takesure's relationship.

    Chapter 7
  • March 1970

    Mother gives birth to a son; Lucia gets a job.

    Chapter 8
  • September 1970

    Tambu refuses to attend her parents' church wedding.

    Chapter 8
  • December 1970

    Babamukuru agrees to let Tambu attend the convent school.

    Chapter 9
  • January 1971

    Tambu moves to the convent school.

    Chapter 10
  • August 1971

    Nyasha is admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

    Chapter 10

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 Fourteen-year-old Tambu opens the novel with the arresting line, "I was not sorry when my brother died." Tambu recollect... Read More
Chapter 2 The government decides, "African children [are] sufficiently developed cognitively" to understand numbers and letters, s... Read More
Chapter 3 Babamukuru arrives home with his wife Maiguru and their children, Chido and Nyasha, in a motorcade of cars. The whole vi... Read More
Chapter 4 Babamukuru arrives to drive Tambu to the mission. She steps into the car "as a peasant"—wearing ragged clothes, dirty sk... Read More
Chapter 5 Alone, Tambu and Nyasha share stories of how their families have been since they last saw each other and discuss the awk... Read More
Chapter 6 Tambu discusses the white people who run the mission, calling them "holy" and "deities," yet she finds herself unable to... Read More
Chapter 7 Everyone prepares to return to the homestead for Christmas, except Chido who chooses to vacation with the Baker family i... Read More
Chapter 8 In the following days, Tambu struggles with the news of her parents' church wedding. She feels angry with Babamukuru for... Read More
Chapter 9 As the school year comes to a close, nuns visit the school to administer a general knowledge test. They run an exclusive... Read More
Chapter 10 Just as she felt when moving to the mission school, Tambu feels overwhelmed with excitement as she drives toward the con... Read More
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