No Longer at Ease

Idealism in No Longer at Ease

Chinua Achebe's No Longer at Ease includes a variety of idealistic characters, from Obi Okonkwo, the typical educated young reformer, to Mr. Green, his curmudgeonly, racist boss. Despite these characters' differing views, they share the characteristic of being trapped in their world views, unable to effect change because of an inability to see the world beyond their preconceptions.

Because he lies between two worlds, Obi would seem the most likely to accomplish something, yet he is least able to. Raised in a Nigerian village and educated in England, he has experience of both European and African cultures but understands neither. He believes strongly enough in European progressiveness to marry a woman from a forbidden caste, despite the fact that she does not share his beliefs. "I can't marry you" (80), says his fiancée Clara, to which his reply is "nonsense!" (81). Even after Clara attempts to return her engagement ring, explaining "your family will be against [our marriage]. I don't want to come between you and your family" (141), Obi counters, "bunk!" (141) and proceeds to drive home, where his mother tells him that if he gets married while she is alive, she "shall...

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