Study Guide

No Longer At Ease Chapter 3

By Chinua Achebe

Chapter 3

  • We now get the story of how Obi and Clara met.
  • Obi and Clara first met at a dance in England. Obi fell in love immediately and asked her to dance, but he was so awkward that she ran away as soon as the dance ended.
  • A year and a half later, they met again when they returned to Nigeria on the same boat.
  • Obi was thrilled to see her and reminded her of their first meeting. She was not thrilled to see him and ignored him.
  • The next day, he ignores her at breakfast. But soon, he is stricken with seasickness and Clara becomes his ministering angel when she brings him medicine.
  • Throughout that night, he thought of nothing else but Clara – and his infatuation is obvious the next morning when he opens the door and sees her. He realizes she had medicine for all the passengers, but because she had spoken to him in Igbo, it seemed like she had singled him out specifically.
  • Obi becomes friends with Macmillan when Macmillan falls on deck and is able to laugh about it. Obi explains that Igbo names have meanings and are frequently a sentence. It turns out that both Macmillan and Obi are 25, and they wonder aloud how old Clara is. Obi guesses she's about 23, and the two men agree that she's beautiful.
  • The boat anchors in the Madeiras, and Obi, Macmillan, and Clara disembark.
  • They explore the city together. Macmillan buys cheap curios and Clara teases him that his girlfriend won't like it.
  • When they return to the ship, Macmillan is holding Clara's right hand and Obi holds her left hand.
  • On board, Macmillan heads to his cabin to write letters and Obi urges Clara to stay and keep him company. When they hear Macmillan's door close, Obi kisses her over and over and whispers, "I love you." Clara refuses to believe it but returns his kisses.
  • Mrs. Wright interrupts them, claiming she has indigestion.