No Longer At Ease
How we cite our quotes:
They heard Macmillan bang his cabin door. Their eyes met for a second, and without another word Obi took her in his arms. She was trembling as he kissed her over and over again.
"Leave me," she whispered.
"I love you."
She was silent for a while, seeming to melt in his arms.
"You don't," she said suddenly. "We're only being silly. You'll forget it in the morning." She looked at him and then kissed him violently. "I know I'll hate myself in the morning." (3.64-68)
Though he barely knows Clara – and certainly doesn't know that she is part of a forbidden caste, the osu – Obi declares his love for her. Clara protests, in part because she knows things he doesn't.
Until Obi met Clara on board the cargo boat Sasa he had though of love as another grossly overrated European invention…There was always a part of him, the thinking part, which seemed to stand outside it all watching the passionate embrace with cynical disdain. The result was that one half of Obi might kiss a girl and murmur: "I love you," but the other half would say: "Don't be silly." And it was always this second half that triumphed in the end when the glamour had evaporated with the heat, leaving a ridiculous anticlimax
With Clara it was different. It had been from the very first. There was never a superior half at Obi's elbow wearing a patronizing smile. (7.56-57)
Without knowing much about Clara or her family, Obi has thrown himself head first into a passionate love affair. This kind of love affair is similar to romance in Western culture and indicates that Obi and Clara may have adopted some Western values.
He knew that many of these secretaries were planted to spy on Africans. One of their tactics was to pretend to be very friendly and broad-minded. One had to watch what one said….
As the weeks passed, however, Obi's guard began to come down "small small," as they say. It started with Clara's visit to his office one morning to tell him something or other. Miss Tomlinson had heard her voice on the telephone a few times and had commented on its attractiveness. Obi introduced them, and was a little surprised at the English woman's genuine delight. When Clara left she talked about nothing else for the rest of the day. "Isn't she beautiful? Aren't you lucky? When are you getting married? I shouldn't wait if I were you," and so on and so forth.
Obi felt like a clumsy schoolboy earning his first praise for doing something extraordinarily clever. He began to see Miss Tomlinson in a different light. If it was part of her tactics, it was really a very clever one for which she deserved credit. But it did not look clever or forced. It seemed to have come straight from her heart. (9.3-5)
Obi's love for Clara makes him receptive to Mr. Green's secretary, who is likely spying on Obi to see if he does anything wrong. Miss Tomlinson is able to practice her deceit (and might be involved in Obi's later downfall) because she flatters him about Clara.