Nervous conditions novel

As Thumb becomes more fixed and established in her life at the mission school, she begins to embrace attitudes and beliefs different from those of her parents and her traditional upbringing. Nash, ever the voice of reasonable dissent, warns Thumb that a wholesale acceptance of supposedly progressive ideas represents a dangerous departure. Education leads to the journey for Thumb, she discovers different views on how to behave in a ‘whiter’ society. This journey from an idyllic, rural society shows her freedom, ‘old deep laces’- in her river where she swam in as a child.

When Thumb accepts the opportunity of missionary schooling, she learns about her uncle’s family, and the extent to which colonialism has affected their way of life, and how it has pulled them apart. To some extent, this leaves one realizing that the unity and harmony that might have existed in Tatum’s extended family has been damaged as a result of moving to England. Nash points out to Thumb that her father acts like white men and how he humiliates himself in the process. Thumb is made aware of the effect this has on Nash and her family.

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Nash also draws attention to the way colonialism has created divisions within the family, and disruption and damage: ‘Do you see what they’ve done? They’ve taken us away. Lucia. Takeouts. All of us. They’ve deprived you of you, him of him, ourselves of each other. ‘ This shows how Nash has also effected Tatum’s journey. Tatum’s journey from entrapment to freedom is shown in her attitude towards the people in her life. In the beginning she always refers to Bankrupt as ‘Bankrupt’ but towards the end of the novel she starts referring to him as ‘uncle’.

This isn’t necessarily n increasing lack of respect towards her ‘provide’ but just a change in attitude. Tatum’s rural background gives her a greater respect for the education she is given. Her strive and determination to gain education in the beginning of the novel is shown when she plants a crop and sells it for school fees. This strive does continue with her studies but we can see that she is less grateful for what she is given In conclusion, Thumb moves from an idyllic rural society, to a complicated yet easier ‘white’ world, in which she gains access to different views and altogether gains another attitude towards her family.

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