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WAEC/NECO 2021-2025: Major Themes In 'no Longer At Ease' By Chinua Achebe - Education - Nairaland

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WAEC/NECO 2021-2025: Major Themes In 'no Longer At Ease' By Chinua Achebe by Rayloverscrib: 12:09pm On Feb 27, 2019
One of the many books written by Chinua Achebe that addresses the many ills of Nigeria and Africa as a whole is No Longer At Ease. It is recommended by WAEC/NECO for the 2021-2025 examinations.

I have published the comprehensive list of the harmonized WAEC/NECO Literature syllabus for 2021-2025 examinations. You should take a peep here: http://www.pencraftpedia.com/harmonized-waec-and-neco-literature-syllabus-texts-for-2021-2025/

Before we go into the themes of No Longer At Ease, lets us quickly look at some basic information about the book.

Question: Who is the author of No Longer at Ease?
Answer: Chinua Achebe

Question: When was the book written?
Answer: The book was published in 1960 (during the transition era from colonialism to Independence in 1960).

Question: How many pages does the book contain?
Answer: 154

Question: What’s the genre of the book?
Answer: Fictional prose (satire)

Setting: Location (Nigeria) Time setting (post colonial era, see introduction below for more information about the time setting of the book).

No Longer At Ease
Ok, so let us now look at the themes of No Longer at Ease

In discussing the themes of No Longer at Ease, it is worthy of note that the book raises a major concern about colonialism and the post colonial era of Nigeria. The concern raises its hand at the reality of Nigeria’s Independence after the harsh rule of the British colonial masters. Although the relevance of the book as touching the happenings during the colonization period of the Nigerian state is questioned, it has a bearing with these two periods.

The subject of colonialism is not specifically dealt with in the book, yet it is still pervasive and significant as the events of the novel take place in the last days of the British rule in Nigeria, and they reveal the tensions presented between white and black society alike, politics, religion, and character. Chinua Achebe has very strong views on colonialism, this quite obviously, he expresses them in the novel through his condemnation of whites as either grotesque, cruel, ignorant, or immoral, as well as his depiction of the negative impact white culture has on Nigerians (such as Obi). The Nigerians are clearly superior to their colonizers in their values and social mores and norms, but they still must navigate the waters of being second-class citizens in their own country. Every choice makes or has made for him is a product of colonialism.

Particularly, Obi’s perception, character and views about colonialism and basic choices in the novel all speak volumes about his identity. The community he comes from actually values tradition and norms. This helps him to stand out as portrayed in his assertive nature of not taking bribes and staying faithful to Clara. But at the end of the day, he proved to be a weakling, with his real human nature exhibited fully. His character of pride, and ignorance were fully shown at the end of the story. Another striking identity of Obi is his lack of strong wills and lasting goals to help him get to where he wants to be.

In No Longer at Ease, Chinua Achebe paints the perfect picture of both Black and White cultures. He presents the white’s culture as a culture that is deadening, soulless, and immoral. Achebe has a better view of the Black culture as lifting, and sustaining, if this is a hallow effect, I do not know. Drinking, sex, dancing, and bribery are all associated with the white man’s world, and the white neighborhood where Obi lives in Lagos is compared to a graveyard. Obi and his father love the written word of the whites, which, as symbolized by mounds of paper, is full of sound and fury. Nigerian culture is associated with a valuing of the past, communal support, tradition, and loyalty. However, for all of his touting of the values of Nigerian culture, Achebe does acknowledge that it is very much mired in the past and cannot yet evolve; Joseph calls himself and Obi “pioneers”, and Obi realizes how ridiculous it is to either pay for a wife or be denied marriage to a wife of one’s choosing. Obi is caught between two cultures, wherein lie his difficulties.

One of the major ills of this era was corruption as it spread across the length and breadth of the whites and blacks respectively. It is common with the senior service and the white bureaucracy as a whole. The more appealing part of this theme is how Achebe opens the novel with Obi’s encounter with attempts to be bribed, although Obi later fell for it, but it was difficult to get to him to accept it.

Hypocrisy is another theme mostly portrayed by the whites. Mr Green typically depicts this ill so well in his actions and words against the blacks especially because the (blacks) take bribe. But on the other hand, the whites are so deep in taking bribe. Obi remarked how the whites set up off time periods to benefit from, but would always complain when the blacks take advantage of such periods. The English love to complain about the Nigerians for the same things they do themselves or claim to value.

Throughout the book, Achebe presented education as something desirable to attain. Obi is depicted almost as the savior of his village when he gets the scholarship to go abroad. Education is clearly seen as the only tool that can be used to fight colonialism to the finish.

If you find this helpful, please share this your friends and mates.

Source: http://www.pencraftpedia.com/waec-neco-2021-2025-major-themes-in-no-longer-at-ease-by-chinua-achebe/

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