Coming of Age Narratives

In: English and Literature

Submitted By englishstu12
Words 1930
Pages 8
Consider whether two texts construct narratives of liberation: how do they conceive of agency or freedom or escape?

A fight for freedom from social boundaries and limitations

Society will always be based on a set of norms followed by a group of people, hence the formation of communities and tribal settings. In order to succeed within social strata it is of the utmost importance to adhere to these “rules”, so to speak. Moral value is often what deciphers one group from another. What one group of people hold of importance may not mean much to another. However it is important to respect the differences between social groups, because without each of them society wouldn’t be where it is today. In my two chosen texts, Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson we are faced with two characters trying to release themselves from the shackles of society and trying to become accepted and to find themselves. Stories of self-development often prove to be the most interesting, a coming of age tale revealing significance in every footstep of growth.

In Nervous Conditions we follow the narration of the main character, Tambu and her experiences, through her eyes directly, of her time growing up in Africa. The book also surrounds another main character, Nyasha, Tambu’s affluent cousin. It is important to recognise the immediate differences between the cousins. Tambu has only ever known an impoverished background where as Nyasha is travelled and educated. She speaks English and Tambu speaks Shona, the language of her area. At the beginning of the novel it is difficult to imagine how the girls will be able to relate with one another. However it is their differences, which prove to be their strength. They help one another in the painful transition, which is growing up. Tambu is aware that education is the element,…...

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