Nervous Conditions

It’s everything, it’s everywhere. So where do you break out to? You’re just one person and it’s everywhere. So where do you break out to? C… ]By the time of her breakdown, she declares, “They’ve trapped us. They’ve trapped us. But I won’t be trapped. I’m not a good girl. I won’t be trapped. ” (Damageable p. 200-201) Nash reaches out for something in her life she can control; she acts out in rebellion against the patriarchal view of woman best influenced by her father. She begins to starve herself taking away the power any man would have had over her.

Nash develops the illness to trademark her English colonization, ND to reject her traditional responsibilities as a woman. Anorexia is a disease most commonly found in women living in Western developed countries. The idea of a woman’s worth in Western countries is much different than the worth of a woman in Rhodesia. A western woman’s worth is based upon her outer appearance, and more specifically their worth is based on their figure. Nash values the Western idea of beauty over the opinions of her relatives. Who would pride themselves on being plump, a common telltale sign of wealth in a family.

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Anorexia as a disease itself leaves a devastating affect of the human body. The disease works by weakening the body, crippling the bones, and worsening the overall appearance of the person to others around them. The person themselves won’t see the damage being done. We have to depend on the interaction with another’ to ‘find’ our self. When Nash and her family return from England and settle back into life in Rhodesia. Nash finds herself in a state of limbo when is comes to ‘belonging’ somewhere. She is said to be to English for the Africans, and too African for the English.

She went on like this for quite awhile, going on about how you couldn’t expect the ancestors to stomach so much Englishmen. She didn’t mention Moan, but I was beginning to follow her trend of thought. I knew she was thinking of him and I could see she considered him a victim [… ]Was I being careful enough? Wondered. For I was beginning to have a suspicion, no more than a seed of a suspicion, that had been too eager to leave the homestead and embrace the “Englishmen” of the Mission; and after that the more concentrated “Englishmen” of Sacred Heart…. ” (Damageable p. 3) Nash is faced with a position of assimilating, the ability to be able to fit in with her peers and family. But as her anglicizes personality stands she can’t and would not submit herself to follow an established sense of tradition, particularly the patriarchal views her father oppresses onto the family. Nash must then find her own ways to gain positive affirmation in her life. But she seems to be almost always confused with her surroundings, and how to properly act in a society that she is very much a stranger too. Due to the nature of her upbringing taken place in two different test of societies.

Nash having difficulty trying to merge her collective social backgrounds, without the battle of conflicting values. Nash seems more than eager to step in and accept her English culture as a part of her identity. But with acceptance of her English culture, it means she has rejected her traditional African identity. Nash jeopardizes her mental safety, fully accepting her English culture she leads herself down a path towards mental breakdowns and schizophrenic episodes. A symbol depicted as the development of Nausea’s eating disorder throughout the novel.

Illustrating a clearer image for the reader to infer Nausea’s anorexia as a symbol of the danger of ignoring our real identity. Nausea’s diseased self suggests the symbol for oppressed women dealing with; colonization, patriarchal family structure, and the battle between a functional balance of native culture and Western narrative. But the trouble with leaving one’s cultural background and assimilate with another culture can cause pathological consequences. Particularly dealing with colonialism; the psychological after effects of colonialism produce violence in others and us.

The motional examples presented by ‘white’ settlers contaminate the livelihoods of the colonized, producing hatred and loathing. To continue my use of Nash as an example we can see that the issue without being able to find an outlet for the internalized self-loathing, commonly seen devastating the oppressed. The only positive outlook on Nausea’s hybrid identity is her use of universalism. Universalism is a very optimistic view, to view life through. Universalism is the belief that all men will be saved, or happy in the future. The societal influence on people help shapes their personality.


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