No Longer At Ease
by Chinua Achebe
No Longer At Ease Dreams, Hopes, Plans Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Last year," she said suddenly, "none of the girls in our school who got Grade One was given a scholarship."
"Perhaps they did not impress the Board."
"It wasn't that. It was because they did not see the members at home."
"So you intend to see the members?"
"Is a scholarship as important as all that? Why doesn't a relation of yours pay for you to go to a university?"
Obi felt very sorry for her [Elsie Mark]. She was obviously an intelligent girl who had set her mind, like so many other young Nigerians, on university education. And who could blame them? Certainly not Obi. It was rather sheer hypocrisy to ask if a scholarship was as important as all that or if a university education was worth it. Every Nigerian knew the answer. It was yes. (9.63-68;72.)
Elsie's hopes and dreams rest in getting a university education, and she's willing to give up a lot of herself in order to get it. Why does she go to such extremes? Because if she does, she will never be dependent on a man every again – she and her family – but instead, she will be in the position of bestowing favors.
[Mr Green] turned to Obi and said: "you know, Okonkwo, I have lived in your country for fifteen years and yet I cannot begin to understand the mentality of the so-called educated Nigerian. Like this young man at the University College, for instance, who expects the Government not only to pay his fees and fantastic allowances and find him an easy, comfortable job at the end of his course, but also to pay his intended. It's absolutely incredible. I think Government is making a terrible mistake in making it so easy for people like that to have so-called University education. Education for what? To get as much as they can for themselves and their family. Not the last bit interested in the millions of their countrymen who die every day from hunger and disease." (12.6)
Though education is a way for Nigerians to achieve their hopes and dreams, Mr. Green suggests it is also an easy way for them to milk the system. Read Mr. Green's "Character Analysis" for more on his beliefs and the role he plays in No Longer At Ease.
[Obi] told [Christopher] of one old catechist in Umuofia many, many years ago when Obi was a little boy. This man's wife was a very good friend of Obi's mother and often visited them. One day he overheard her telling his mother how her education had been cut short at Standard One because the man was impatient to get married. She sounded very bitter about it, although it must have happened at least twenty years before. Obi remembered this particular visit very well because it took place on a Saturday. On the following morning the catechist had been unable to take the service because his wife had broken his head with the wooden pestle used for pounding yams. (12.34)
It doesn't seem like Obi is deliberately advocating a feminist ideology here, rather he is suggesting that an unhappy wife is dangerous. It is better to let her do what she wants to do than get in the way.