No Longer at Ease

by Chinua Achebe

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How does Achebe portray hypocrisy in the characters of "No Longer at Ease"?

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Achebe shows us the main character acting hypocritically throughout the novel. Obi believes that the values of Western society are superior to those of his native Igbo culture. He claims to have released himself from what he considers to be "backwards" notions of family duty, filial piety, and patriarchy. Instead, he claims to have embraced the staunch individuality of Western society.

Obi prides himself on being cut off from his extended family and tribal society, claiming he doesn't need their approval in order to feel successful. Yet Obi continually bends his own will under that of his extended family and tribal expectations. He doesn't want to pay for other people's scholarships (because he can't afford it), yet he ends up doing so because that's what the tribe expects. He wants to marry Clara yet holds off on it indefinitely out of fear of meeting his family's disapproval. He claims to not care what others think yet spends money he doesn't have for fancy suits, cars, and the trappings of wealth and status.

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