No Longer At Ease
How we cite our quotes:
Obi had been shocked by the crudity of Christopher's reaction to his story. …
"You know, Obi," he said, "I had wanted to discuss that matter with you. But I have learnt not to interfere in a matter between a man and a woman, especially with chaps like you who have wonderful ideas about love…That was why I didn't tell you anything about Clara. You may say that I am not broad-minded, but I don't think we have reached the stage where we can ignore all our customs. You may talk about education and so on, but I am not going to marry an osu." (15.32-33)
Christopher argues with Obi that love is not enough to overcome stigma and familial opposition. Essentially, he's saying that Romeo and Juliet is a wonderful story, but in real life, love needs more than romance to sustain it. Furthermore, he suggests, even though colonialism, Christianity, and Western education have changed Igbo culture, there are some cultural traditions that remain no matter what. These cultural traditions – such as not marrying an osu – will always trump love.
"Why don't you marry the girl anyway? She is very good-looking."
"I don't want to marry him," said Clara sullenly, the first thing she had said since they came in
"What's wrong with him? He seems a nice young man to me."
"I say I won't marry him. Isn't that enough?" she almost screamed, and rushed out of the room. Obi went quietly after her and they drove off. No single word passed between them all the way to the house of the next doctor who had been recommended to Obi. (15.49-52)
When Obi seeks an abortion for Clara, he discovers that Clara's mind is already made up –whatever love they had for each other is gone, and with it, their commitment to marry.
As he sat in the driver's seat, paralyzed by his thoughts, the doctor and Clara came out and entered a car that was parked by the side of the road. The doctor must have said something about him because Clara looked in his direction once and immediately took her eyes away. Obi wanted to rush out of his car and shout: "Stop. Let's go and get married now," but he couldn't' and didn't. The doctor's car drove away. (16.17)
In the end, Obi's love for Clara is not strong enough to overcome their difficult situation.