Summary and Review of The Book No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe
In the novel, No Longer at Ease, it demonstrates that going from tradition can be difficult. The book opens with Obi, a young man, is on trial for committing a crime. Then goes on to describe the hard times in Obi life, his mother who had just died, and his soon to be wife, Clara, who had just ended the relationship. The novel proceeds to flashback to where it all started in Obi life. Obi had just returned to Nigeria from British University, where he received an education for the last four years, due to the Umuofia Progressive Union giving him a scholarship. Coming back home Obi, overwhelmed with anticipation to see familiar faces, met a young lady named Clara. Their relationship and intersect with each other grew rather quickly. As he reaches home, the Umuofia Progressive Union threw a party in honor of his return home. Obi then stays with his friend, Joseph, in hopes of finding a house and job. Obi soon has encounters with bribery, when a man offers Obi money so his little sister can get a scholarship or when the girl herself came to Obi offering herself for the favor. Obi who has always been against that world rejects both.
Soon situations start going downhill for Obi, Clara had come to him telling him that, because she is an outcast they cannot get married. Obi disregards her concern, his customs, and decided they will continue with the marriage. To make matter worse, he is still in debt and then receives a letter from his father telling him it is time to go home. When returning, he finds his mother ill and very irritated with his decision on marrying Clara. His parents continually tell him Clara is an osu and they must not get married. His mother finally gives him a choice, marry Clara, and if she is still alive, she will kill herself or wait until she has died to go on with the marriage. Obi tells Clara about the chooses he has, Clara becomes irate and decides its best to end the engagement altogether. Afterward, Obi found out about Clara pregnancy and scheduled for an abortion to be done. Clara is then hospitalized due to complications in the surgery and refuses to speak or see Obi. Obi returns to his daily life and gets notified that his mother had died. Obi send the money he has for her funeral but does not go home for the funeral of his mother. Umuofia Progressive Union finds the act as if he had not cared about his mother’s death. With the love of his life and his mother gone, Obi grows into a deep depression and realizes that it was Clara who keeps him on track. Obi let go with all of his principles he has followed through his life and takes a bride, reassuring himself that it will be the last one. Obi realizes that he lied to himself and it starts to become a common thing. However, when Obi takes his last bride, he is caught and is found guilty, taking us back to the opening of the novel.
As I read this novel, the similarities didn’t stick out to me until writing this book report. Obi went to England for four years to continue his education. He mentioned in the book that the Umuofia Progressive Union offered him a scholarship to attend British University. I drew a parallel to Obi and I. We have all been blessed to be able to attend a college, whether it be in the same or a different state. We even have the chance to participate in a study aboard program in different in continents. At Harding, they offer around seven different programs, that can further your education, maybe meet the love of your life, or make you have an appreciation for other cultures. As Obi went to college at British University, he changed his course of study and went into a different direction. Many people who go on study aboard programs find a subject or something they are passionate about. For example, a girl on our trip was majoring in Speech Pathology. As she went to the clinic twice a week with the group, she had learned she enjoys the atmosphere, the different cases, and the acknowledgment of helping others. Not only in study aboard program but at our regular university as well. People change their major every day; we have to trust in God and his path for us. Finally, Obi was nostalgic for home; I understand that on a different level. It’s tough going far away from home for college. You get so used to the daily life there and changing your routine and atmosphere can be challenging to comprehend. As for us ten girls left the United States for our study aboard program in Africa we had struggled in a different way when going. We were out of our comfort zone and did not know what to expect. Some of us have experienced homesick, and some have not. We know the difficulties of leaving your comfort zone, but in the end, it is all worth it.
The novel, No longer at Ease, the difficulties one has in life. Whether it be leaving your comfort zone to go to college, or losing a loved one and the guilt that comes with it, the love of your life ended your engagement or being found guilty for a crime you had committed. Whatever it is you have to trust in God and his plan for you even when you wonder why is it happening to me.
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