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No Longer At Ease

No Longer At Ease

by Chinua Achebe

Principles Theme

Obi absorbed Western values and customs during his time in England. These values extended from the belief that he should be able to choose his own wife to the belief that education was a cure for corruption. Although Western values and culture had been destructive to Igbo culture at times, No Longer At Ease seems to suggest that the collective energy of Igbo values and traditions has the power to defeat newly-acquired Western values.

Questions About Principles

  1. What are Obi's principles at the start of the book, before his trial? What are his principles by the end of the book?
  2. Compare and contrast Obi's principles with the principles he despises – the system of bribery, and nepotism he encounters in Nigerian politics.
  3. Compare and contrast Obi's principles with those of Joseph, Clara, and his family.
  4. Why was Obi unable to adhere to his own principles?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The problem with Obi's principles are that they are too rigid; he doesn't recognize value in the indigenous system. Instead, he turns to the cold value system of the colonizer, which offers him little in the way of a support system.

Although No Longer At Ease seems to condemn the system of bribery and corruption that exists within modern Nigeria, we also see that there are clear advantages to it: that system belongs to a more positive system of socialism and collective welfare, with all parties mutually benefiting from their many relationships.

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