Narrating The Female Body In Tsitsi Dangarembga’S This Mournable Body
Otieno, Daniel O
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In This Mournable Body (2018), Tsitsi Dangarembga continues the story of her protagonist, Tambudzai, which began with Nervous Conditions (1986) and its sequel The Book of Not (2006). This study is inspired by the need to investigate the narration of the female body in postcolonial Zimbabwe as depicted in this latter work. The argument in this research is that the female body is portrayed on the backdrop of double colonization where gender and legacies of colonialism are the Zimbabwean woman’s predicaments and sources of political resistance. This research employs the Russian-formalists’ theory of Defarmiliarization and postcolonial feminist theory of Double Colonization to interrogate various images of the female body in the text and how, aside from giving agency to the African woman, they relate the story of postcolonial Zimbabwe. The focus of this literary inquiry further spreads to author’s point of view and its significance in narrating the female body. The results of this study reveal that the female body portrays women as subjects defined by suffering, mental breakdown, and as victims of racial inequalities, poverty and sexual objectification. In spite of all these hurdles, an analysis of the text demonstrates how, on the other hand, a new image of the woman in a postcolonial setting is created. Through transfiguration of the female body, this study notes that female characters possess the ability to transform their bodies by reconstructing the ‘othered’ bodies with attributes of strength, resilience and economic prosperity. Notably, the second person point of view is used in narration in the text as a convenient tool for imagining and constructing female agency. By using the pronoun of address ‘you’ in the narration, the narrating voice invites the reader or narratee to understand the protagonist, or to empathize with her as process of gaining insight in the prevailing conditions of the female body in the postcolony.
University of Nairobi
SubjectNarrating The Female Body
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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