Notes from Underground

Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman – Character List

id=”Marjorie Shostak”> Marjorie Shostak – Nisa’s interviewer. Shostak accompanies her anthropologist husband to Africa, where he is conducting his own studies, and sets out to understand !Kung life, particularly the lives of !Kung women, more deeply than previous researchers. She takes the tribal name Hwantla, although in the transcripts Nisa refers to her most often as “Marjorie” …

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Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman – Plot Overview

Nisa opens with an introduction by Shostak, detailing her own preparations and expectations for her first trip to the Dobe region of Africa, in northwest Botswana and at the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Shostak describes Nisa’s people, the Zhun/twasi (“real people”), bushmen who are hunter-gatherers and members of a racial group known as Khoisan. …

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Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman – Marjorie Shostak

Marjorie Shostak is the author and narrator of Nisa as well as Nisa’s interviewer, but with an academic background in English literature, she is not your average anthropologist. She travels to Africa with her husband, who is conducting his own work in the Dobe region, and begins studying the !Kung as a means of occupying …

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Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman – Chuko

Since Shostak focuses her book mainly on the lives of the !Kung women, Nisa’s mother, Chuko, plays an especially important role. Chuko’s behavior sets an example for Nisa in many ways, from the expected (pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing) to the unexpected (the taking of lovers). Many of Nisa’s early memories concern maternal events, such as …

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Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman – Tashay

Tashay, Nisa’s third husband, is particularly significant in Nisa’s life because he is the father of her children. Unlike Nisa’s first two “trial” marriages, her marriage to Tashay contains a strong element of love. Nisa and Tashay actually build a life together, although it does start on somewhat rocky ground. With Tashay, Nisa has her …

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