Study Guide

No Longer At Ease Chapter 11

By Chinua Achebe

Chapter 11

  • Obi Okonkwo and Marie Tomlinson now know each other on a first-name basis.
  • They discuss many things, especially Mr. Green.
  • Marie relates Mr. Green's racist statements to Obi, and Obi responds with his own gossip about Mr. Green.
  • Obi realizes that although he dislikes Mr. Green, he thinks Mr. Green has some good qualities, like his work ethic.
  • It almost seems like he's working towards a deadline, though Obi isn't sure what that deadline could be, unless it's Nigeria's independence.
  • Obi thinks Mr. Green is an interesting fellow, and knows that the man loves Africa. But Obi thinks the Africa he loves is the colonial version of a life of leisure, perhaps the missionary version of converting the savage heathen.
  • Obi thinks about Mr. Green in the context of Conrad's Heart of Darkness and he decides that if Mr. Kurtz was drawn to the darkness and decline of Africa and civilization, then Mr. Green was the kind of person who had hope for a glorious future, bright possibilities on the horizon. He decides Mr. Green would make a good character in a tragedy novel, one that he should write.
  • He gets a package from Clara later that morning and immediately, he is nervous – sure that it contains her engagement ring. But it is just money, no ring. Clara tells him she is sorry about the night before and that he should go cancel the overdraft.
  • With tears in his eyes, Obi looks up and sees Marie watching him. But he tells her nothing is the matter.
  • He wonders how Clara had managed to come up with so much money. And on the way home, he tries to think of ways to convince her to take her money back. But he's afraid he'll hurt her feelings, so he thinks of different lies he might be able to tell that would convince her to take the money back.
  • Obi often imagined these scenarios in his head, whenever he knew he was going to have a difficult conversation with Clara. But they never worked in real life the way they did in his head.
  • In fact, he tells her that the bank manager was pleased to be paid back so quickly.
  • Finally, he tells her he didn't go to the bank, that he can't possibly take so much money from her. But when she says that she'll take the money back, Obi embraces her instead.
  • They visit Christopher that night. He has a girl with him, Bisi. When he tries to introduce Clara as Obi's fiancée, Clara tells him to shut up; apparently, she's not ready for that to be public knowledge yet.
  • They all go dancing at a fancy place. The couple has a good time dancing, listening to the music, people watching, and forget all about the money they left in the glove box. Bisi doesn't want to leave when they decide to go at two in the morning.
  • That's when they discover they forgot to lock one of the doors. And of course, upon returning to the car, they find out that Clara's money is gone.
  • Obi gets out of the car and stares at the ground. Clara gets out and holds his trembling hand, opens the door for him, and says they should leave.