Tambu Analysis

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From a narratological point of view, a text may have certain stylistic indications of unreliable narration. According to Nünning, some of the most evident stylistic clues to narrative unreliability are “frequent occurrences of speaker-oriented and addressee-oriented expressions” (97). A narrator’s reliability is doubted if he/she is an obvious monologist, talking mostly about him/herself and ignoring the views of other characters. Stylistically, then, Tambu’s narrative reliability is challenged. For one thing, the novel is characterized by its monologic, rather than dialogical, aspects. As a whole, the text is composed of speaker-oriented speeches by Tambu who speaks to the reader not only about herself but also about the other characters. …show more content…
According to Nünning, “internal contradictions within the narrator’s discourse and discrepancies between his or her utterances and actions” are obvious examples of narrative unreliability (96). Early in the novel, when Babamukuru, who has just returned from England, informs Tambu’s family of his happiness because the money he sent for Nhamo’s and Tambu’s school fees did its job: “[W]e were very pleased to hear that you were able to send both children back to school as a result of receiving that money we had sent” (NC 45). This contradicts Tambu’s previous assertion that she herself has raised her own school fees (22). If Tambu really has raised the money for her own education, as she claims, one wonders why she does not comment on her uncle’s and father’s claims that it is Babamukuru’s money that sent her back to school, knowing that it is a lie, according to her own narrative. Moreover, several members of the extended family thank Babamukuru and acknowledge his role in sending Tambu and her brother back to school, though, according to Tambu’s story, they know her role in collecting her own school fees. It is also very strange that the rebellious Tambu herself remains silent about that, while she has not remained silent about other faults of her father. Tambu neither defends herself nor informs the …show more content…
Early in the novel, several examples of human failings and violation of ethical standards are traced. The author allows the narrator to reveal her human failings and ethical flaws as early as the opening scene of the novel. In the very first lines, Tambu shocks the reader when she completely fails to show human feelings towards her brother or to sympathize with his death: “I was not sorry when my brother died. Nor am I apologising for my callousness, as you may define it, my lack of feeling … I shall not apologise” (NC 1). In addition to the speaker-oriented expressions and the frequent use of the first-person subjective and possessive pronouns, these are culturally, socially and ethically shocking sentences at the beginning of the novel. Tambu not only confesses that she had past negative feelings towards her dead brother, but she still possesses these feelings which most probably affect her judgment and delineation of her brother’s character. Moreover, she announces her determination never to change these negative feelings in the future. Ironically, although Tambu apparently endorses a promising vision of change, it seems that she herself resists change and decides to remain dogmatic. Her traumatic experience with her brother several years

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