Tsitsi Dangarembga Writing Styles in This Mournable Body

Tsitsi Dangarembga
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Point of View

Though closely fixated on Tambu’s perspective, the novel is written in the second person, an unusual mechanism in fictional works. The second-person perspective occupies an emotional middle-ground between the directness and ostensible transparency of the first-person, and the distanced, aloof voice of the third-person. While the third-person talks about a person, and the first-person talks as and in the voice of that person, the second-person talks to its character. The voice of the narrator is thus talking to Tambu, as opposed to talking about or as Tambu. The narration is also written using the present tense.

This choice of second-person reflects Tambu’s frequent struggles to gain emotional and psychological control over her thoughts and being. Tambu herself suffers numerous breakdowns in this novel, similar to the breakdown that Nyasha suffers at the end of this novel’s 1988 prequel, Nervous Conditions. When Tambu suffers...

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This section contains 971 words
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Buy the This Mournable Body Study Guide
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