No Longer At Ease
by Chinua Achebe
No Longer At Ease Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Throughout that morning Obi felt strangely elated. It was not unlike the feeling he had some years ago in England after his first woman…
After his encounter with Mr. Mark he did feel like a tiger. He had won his first battle hands-down. Everyone said it was impossible to win….It was easy to keep one's hands clean. It required no more than the ability to say: "I'm sorry, Mr. So-and-So, but I cannot continue this discussion. Good morning." One should not, of course, be unduly arrogant. After all, the temptation was not really overwhelming. But in all modesty one could not say it had been nonexistent. Obi was finding it more and more impossible to live on what was left of his forty-seven pounds ten after he had paid twenty to the Umuofia Progressive Union and sent ten to his parents. Even now he had no idea where John's school fees or next term would come from. No, one could not say he had no need of money. (9.41-42)
When the first opportunity to take a bribe comes, Obi finds it easy to say no. But it is the first time of many temptations to come, and Obi hasn't yet begun his downward slide into financial ruin. For now, he is satisfied about his principles, and he looks down on those who find the temptation too great to resist.
"Now tell me, Christopher. What is your definition of bribery?"
"Well, let's see….The use of improper influence."
"Good. I suppose—"
"Bu the point is, there was no influence at all. The girl was going to be interviewed, anyway. She came voluntarily to have a good time. I cannot see that bribery is involved at all."
"Of course, I know you're not really serious."
"I am dead serious."
"But I'm surprised you cannot see that the same argument can be used for taking money. If the applicant is getting the job anyway, then there is no harm in accepting money from him."
"You see, the difference is this." He paused. "Let's put it this way. No man wants to part with his money. If you accept money from a man you make him poorer. But if you go to bed with a girl who asks for it, I don't see that you have done any harm." (12.52-58; 61)
Christopher suggests something that Obi recognizes as fundamentally dishonest: if you already know that a girl is appearing before the Scholarship Board, then it is not using improper influence to sleep with her if she offers. But, of course, she doesn't know that she's already qualified to appear before the Scholarship Board. On the other hand, Christopher does feel that it is improper to take money because you're relieving a man from something he needs (or wants) to keep. Money and sex are fundamentally different for Christopher, but Obi sees the dishonesty in each action.
She didn't throw it away, but went outside to his car and dropped it in the glove box. She came back and, holding out her hand in mock facetiousness, said: "Thank you very much for everything."
"Come sit down, Clara. Let's not be childish. And please don't make things more difficult for me."
"You are making things difficult for yourself. How many times did I tell you that we were deceiving ourselves? But I as always told I was being childish. Anyway, it doesn't matter. There is no need for a long talk." (15.22-24)
When Clara realizes her relationship with Obi is over, she tries to explain to Obi that he lied to her throughout their relationship. She had always known that it couldn't work, that his family would never allow it. No only did he lie throughout their relationship that it would work, he is still lying to her even as she gives her ring back.