Study Guide

No Longer At Ease Society and Class

By Chinua Achebe

Society and Class

Education is critical for social position and status in Nigeria, as presented by No Longer At Ease. With an education, your salary jumps to five times the amount you might obtain without an education. In No Longer At Ease Obi discovers that being a part of the educated elite, however, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it provides him with privileges, wealth, and admiration. But he soon discovers that it is impossible to maintain the lifestyle expected of him as a senior civil servant while fulfilling his duties to his parents and to the Umuofia Progressive Union. The more money he spends to maintain his lifestyle, the more money he needs.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. What does it take to get into the "elite" class in Nigerian society?
  2. What does it take to stay in the elite class in Nigerian society?
  3. Is it possible to argue that Obi's desire to maintain a lavish, luxurious lifestyle is the root of all his problems?

Chew on This

Although education proved to be the ticket to entering elite society, intelligence and education could not keep Obi there; only financial stability could enable Obi to keep his elite position.

Even though the Umuofia Progressive Union helped Obi achieve his social status by providing the money for his education, they were unable to help him keep his position because they did not understand how expensive it was for Obi to maintain his social status once he entered the ranks of the elite.