Study Guide

No Longer At Ease Chapter 6

By Chinua Achebe

Chapter 6

  • Obi's homecoming is marred by his mother's illness, and the fact that both his parents are obviously poverty-stricken to the point of hunger.
  • It was terrible, he thought, that the church didn't take better care of them, after all the years of service his father had given.
  • That night obi and his father talk.
  • Isaac says he had been afraid he would die before Obi returned. The next day, he says, they'll go worship God together at the church.
  • Obi wonders what Isaac would say if he knew that Obi was now an atheist. Obi lies and reassures Isaac that he read the Bible while he was in college.
  • The family gathers for prayers and Scripture reading. Obi watches his mother and wonders if, despite her identity as an apparently devout Christian woman, she might have gravitated towards traditional culture if she weren't married to his father. (Isaac was a catechist who believes his responsibility is to uphold Christian virtues and tradition, and to let go of the parts of their culture that the missionaries condemned, such as eating food offered to idols and telling folk tales.)
  • Though his mother had tried to follow his father's commands, there were times when she slipped up. For example, when Obi was embarrassed at school because he didn't know any of the folk tales common in the village, she told him some tales so he could participate in class.
  • He remembers how he was told a story of a clever sheep that hid her baby lambs in some palm-kernels when she went to the market. The leopardess that came looking for the baby lambs was unsuccessful in her hunt, then thoroughly startled when she cracked the palm-kernels open and they ran away into the forest.
  • Obi tells his father that he will pay his younger brother John's school fees. Then they go to bed.
  • Obi takes a long time to fall asleep as he thinks about his responsibilities to his parents.
  • He decides he will give them ten pounds a month from his salary, and wishes he didn't have to pay the Umuofia Progressive Union twenty pounds a month.
  • He thinks about Clara and wonders again why she didn't want him to tell his parents about them. He thinks his mother, who once told him she could not die until she saw his first-born child, will be thrilled to see him settle down and get married.
  • He falls asleep listening to a heavy rain.