No Longer At Ease

Chinua Achebe

Chapter 10

Summary Chapter 10

Obi finds himself in a terrible situation but is still at the point where he can find some hope through his problems. For instance, he thinks about the fact that this is just a beginning for him and that beginnings are always difficult. He also makes himself think that he cannot let his people down, and he is somewhat cheered by Charles's attitude, the man who, in turn, owes Obi money. Also, the chapter seems to end hopefully when Obi finds a poem he had written in England about Nigeria.

The poem is a nostalgic piece of writing that makes him smile. It calls for unity and purity and peace and jollity, and in a way it does well to cheer him up. It is a poem he had written two years before and on the bottom he had written "London, July 1955." The poem both reminds us of Obi's displacement, but it helps Obi forge a new attitude to take. He finds this poem about Nigeria, ironically in an A.E. Housman book. Obi, like Achebe is using a British form (lyric poetry) and making that poetry his own by taking full possession of the subject matter.

Further problems arise out of Obi's relationship with Clara, a relationship that seems to be full of quarrels. They did not quarrel in the last chapter but that seems more like an exception to the rule. Clara, at this point, is upset because Obi has not told her about the overdraft, and she feels she should be told these things since they are to be married. It is obvious that Obi has a certain amount of pride and does not want to have to tell Clara about his financial problems, just as he did not want to take the extension from the Umuofian Progressive Union. The quarrels between the two of them always shed light upon both characters.

Also, as a kind of passing note, Achebe does not fail to criticize Mr. Green yet again in this section of the novel. Though this section seems more sympathetic to the UPU than others, although never fully accepting, it is still quite critical of Green. Because, although Green does well in reminding Obi of his insurance and what he will have to pay and when, Green does so in an arrogantly characteristic manner. "For one brief moment a year ago Mr. Green had taken an interest in Obi's personal affairs—if one could call it taking an interest." For, Green claims he must remind Obi because even the "educated" have not reached the level of thinking about tomorrow" in Nigeria.