Study Guide

No Longer At Ease Chapter 16

By Chinua Achebe

Chapter 16

  • Obi wonders how to find thirty pounds. He knows he still owes Clara fifty pounds but that can wait.
  • He had only twelve pounds left from his home visit. He knows he can't ask Christopher, who spends everything he earns almost immediately. Finally, he decides to ask the Hon. Sam Okoli, but he won't tell him what it's for, for Clara's sake.
  • Then he remembers he should have stressed the need for secrecy to Christopher. But Christopher tells him you can't keep that kind of thing secret.
  • The next day, the doctor counts the money carefully and tells Obi to return at 5pm.
  • In the car, Obi can't drive away. He keeps thinking of all the bad things that could happen. He thinks he's not going to see Clara again.
  • The doctor and Clara emerge from the office. Clara looks at him, then looks away.
  • Obi thinks about shouting at her to stop, that they could go get married. But he does nothing.
  • Obi decides to chase after the doctor's car but the car is already gone. He drives around this way and that way, looking for it, but no luck.
  • At 5pm he returns to the clinic, but the doctor is still gone.
  • He waits for an hour and a half. The doctor returns, without Clara. He tells Obi she's alright but he wants to watch her for the night just in case.
  • Obi wants to see her. The doctor says he can see her in the morning, if she wants to, but she might not want to see him. Women are odd about things like this, he says.
  • Obi tells his servant that he doesn't want dinner. Instead, he pulls out A.E. Housman's poems again, and finds the poem he wrote about Nigeria.
  • He crumples it up and throws it away.
  • In the morning, he tries to see the doctor again. The other patients grumble. Why would he be allowed to see a doctor, when he isn't even sick and doesn't have an appointment?
  • Finally, he rushes inside, elbowing his way past the attendant who tries to prevent him from entering the clinic.
  • The doctor lets him know that Clara is in the hospital, due to complications. But she'll be fine, he says.
  • The patients are grumbling again when he comes out. One of them asks him whether he thinks he can do whatever he wants, just because he has a big car?
  • At the hospital, Obi learns that Clara is too ill for visitors.