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No Longer At Ease

No Longer At Ease


by Chinua Achebe

Clara Okeke Timeline and Summary

  • Clara and Obi fight over going to see a film, and Clara accompanies Obi to his friend Christopher's house.
  • The book flashes back to Clara and Obi's first meeting. Clara is unimpressed with Obi's dancing skills, and limps off after he crushes her feet.
  • Clara doesn't recognize Obi when she meets him again on the boat to Nigeria after they have both graduated.
  • She brings medicine to all the passengers who are seasick. She's a nurse, after all, but somehow it makes Obi think she's has feelings for him. Or it makes him have feelings for her.
  • When Obi declares his love for Clara, she tells him he's being silly and will forget about him by morning. Then she kisses him.
  • Months later, Obi and Clara's relationship is established.
  • The night Obi gets a car, the two go for a drive. Clara is clearly worried about something but doesn't want to talk about it.
  • Obi insists. He reflects about how he really loves her, and he's never really loved a girl before –always thought it was absurd, in fact.
  • Finally, Clara says she cannot marry him. Obi is upset and he doesn't understand, until Clara explains: she's osu.
  • Obi insists they can get married anyway.
  • The next day, Obi uses his clothing allowance to buy Clara an engagement ring.
  • At Clara's insistence, he also buys her a Bible, which is apparently part of the engagement custom. Then they spend the afternoon shopping.
  • Clara comes home when Elise Mark is there, just after Elise has offered to sleep with Obi if he can get her an appearance before the Board.
  • Clara's a pretty cool cookie. She doesn't blink an eyelash, seeing another woman in her fiancée's apartment. But she does apologize later for spoiling his good time.
  • After she hears the story, she tells Obi that he was too hard on Mr. Mark. Her reasoning is that offering money is not as bad as offering your body.
  • Clara gets mad at Obi for thinking he couldn't ask her for help when he discovered his car insurance bill.
  • She sends him fifty pounds the next day and tells him to cancel the bank draft.
  • She and Obi go dancing that night.
  • While they're in the nightclub, somebody enters their unlocked car and steals her fifty pounds.
  • Clara breaks up with Obi so that she doesn't come between Obi and his family.
  • Obi coaxes her back to him by claiming that the real reason she doesn't want to marry him is because he's bad with money.
  • When Obi returns and says they need to just lay low for a while, Clara knows what he really means.
  • She gives Obi his ring back and says there is something else, but she'll figure out a way to take care of it.
  • At the abortion doctor's office, the doctor asks Obi why he doesn't marry Clara. Clara says she has no interest in marrying Obi.
  • Clara's abortion turns septic and she ends up in the hospital.
  • Clara returns Obi's letter of apology to him, unopened.
  • Clara leaves Lagos when she gets out of the hospital.