Study Guide

No Longer At Ease Chapter 17

By Chinua Achebe

Chapter 17

  • Mr. Green asks Obi if he had a good vacation. Then he tells Obi that he thinks it's shameful for Africans like Obi to ask for time off to go visit their homes when they have too many privileges as it is.
  • Obi says that he doesn't care, but it is up to the Government.
  • Mr. Green replies that it is people like Obi that ought to make the Government decide, but no African is willing to give up privileges even if it's in the best interest of the nation. Then he makes a snide remark about Nigerians' wish for democracy and self-governance.
  • When Mr. Green leaves, Marie remarks that Mr. Green is speaking the truth – not about Obi, of course, but about a lot of Africans.
  • Obi says that the Europeans were the ones who created all the "soft conditions" that Nigerians are now taking advantage of, so the British should stop blaming Africans for enjoying those privileges now.
  • Marie tells him he looks ill. She advises him to go see a doctor.
  • Obi goes to ask for a salary advance later that morning.
  • Mr. Omo says it's possible but the way he says it indicates that it's really whether he wants to do it or not. Then he tells Obi that he needs a statement of expenditure to show how he spent the 25 pounds for his local leave; he must refund the balance.
  • Obi realizes that the money given to him for his vacation was not a free gift. He does the math and discovers that he's only allowed 15 pounds. He can't refund the 10 pounds now.
  • Now he realizes that he must analyze all his finances. He decides that the 20 pounds he must give every month to the Umuofia Progressive Union is the factor that has contributed to or caused all his problems.
  • He decides not to pay it anymore until he can see an end to his financial nightmare. If they ask why, he'll tell them he has some family commitments he has to attend to first. They won't take him to court – he's family.
  • A messenger returns with a letter.
  • He had decided to write to Clara the night before and she has returned the letter, unopened. He had realized that he had no right to be angry, or at least, Clara had more right to be angry than he did.
  • So he had written a letter saying he understood if she never wanted to see him again but he hoped she would give him another chance. He had taken the letter to the hospital, leaving it with a nurse.