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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #4

"Of course those of you who know book will not have any difficulty," said the Vice-President on Obi's left. "Otherwise I would have suggested seeing some of the men beforehand."

"It would not be necessary," said the President, "since they would be mostly white men."

"You think white men don't eat bribe? Come to our department. They eat more than black men nowadays." (4.24-26)

After asking Obi whether he has a job yet or not, the men of Umuofia describe how widespread corruption is in the system. They claim that without an education, it is impossible to get a job without relying on corrupt tactics.

Quote #5

Obi's theory that the public service of Nigeria would remain corrupt until the old Africans at the top were replaced by young men from the universities was first formulated in a paper read to the Nigerian Students' Union in London. But unlike most theories formed by students in London, this one survived the first impact of homecoming. In fact, within a month of his return Obi came across two classic examples of his old African. (5.1)

Though Obi's theories on corruption within the Nigerian governmental system are initially confirmed, the novel seems to imply that it won't be long before his beliefs will be challenged.

Quote #6

"Why do you want a job in the civil service? So that you can take bribes?" he asked.

Obi hesitated. His first impulse was to say it was an idiotic question. He said instead: "I don't know how you expect me to answer that question. Even if my reason is to take bribes, you don't expect me to admit it before this board. So I don't think it's a very useful question."…

Joseph was not very happy when Obi told him the story of the interview. His opinion was that a man in need of a job could not afford to be angry.

"Nonsense!" said Obi. "That's what I call colonial mentality. (5. 13-14; 16-17)

To ignore the corruption in Nigeria is, for Obi, a function of the colonial system. According to his viewpoint, the colonial system created the corrupt system by rewarding obsequiousness, homage, patronage, and thus, by extension, bribery and deceit.

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