Eunice Okonkwo is Obi’s youngest sister, and the only one still living with their parents in Umuofia. Hannah Okonkwo Hannah Okonkwo is Obi Okonkwo’s mother. During the four years of Obi’s absence in England, her health has suffered and she has grown frail. For years she has been a devout Christian, fulfilling her duty as the wife of a catechist. However, she still enjoys ‘‘heathen’’ music and she used to tell Obi folk stories while her husband was out at prayer meetings. Obi feels a strong bond with his mother, and he is her favorite child. After becoming engaged to Clara, Obi is confident that he can persuade his mother to accept his choice. When he visits her again, however, her outrage is so powerful that it overwhelms him. She demands that her son not wed the osu woman until after her death, otherwise she will kill herself. From this point on, Obi is sapped of will. Shortly afterward, while Obi is in the midst of a crisis after Clara’s abortion, he receives word of his mother’s death. He chooses not to travel to Umuofia for her funeral. Isaac
Okonkwo is Obi’s father. He was for many years a catechist of the Church Missionary Society in Umuofia. Now retired, he is one of the most prosperous men in the village, known for entertaining lavishly. He has a stern, stubborn personality, and is especially serious about maintaining a Christian home, free of what he calls ‘‘heathen’’ influences. Isaac refuses to give permission for his son to marry Clara; he is unimpressed by Obi’s appeal to Christian ethics. Late in the novel, he speaks to Obi about his past. Readers of Things Fall Apart will be familiar with the story of how Isaac (known then as Nwoye) ran away from the home of his father, Okonkwo, to become a Christian, and later refused to grieve his father’s death.
Obi Okonkwo is the main character of No Longer at Ease. He is the first young man from the village of Umuofia to travel to England for his studies; in the parlance of the Ibo people, he goes there to ‘‘learn book.’’ He is twenty-five years old when he returns to his home country with a degree in English literature. He settles in Lagos and gets a senior civil service job as secretary to the Scholarship Board. His personality is reserved, passive, intellectual, and somewhat haughty. At first he is idealistic and disdains the routine corruption of Nigerian life. As a young, cosmopolitan leader in the era just before Nigerian independence, Obi believes his generation is bound to change the country dramatically. He dismisses all criticism of his involvement with Clara, confident that the taboo against the osu is an antiquated superstition that will soon disappear. The events of the novel reveal the weakness of Obi’s moral fiber. He cannot overcome his mother’s fierce objection to his engagement to Clara and lacks the personal strength to move forward with Clara anyway. He allows Clara to break off their engagement despite her pregnancy. In the end, his emotional and financial difficulties lead him to compromise his principles and begin accepting bribes, resulting in his arrest. Mr. Omo Mr. Omo is the administrative assistant of the Scholarship Board. He has worked there thirty years. When Obi comes to him to see about a salary advance, his manner implies that he may demand a bribe.
President of Umuofia Progressive Union
The president of the Umuofia Progressive Union in Lagos is considered the father of the sons of Umuofia now living in the capital city. He is willing to accept most requests for help that come from individuals. He approves a ten-pound loan to Joshua Udo, and is willing to grant Obi a fourmonth postponement of his debt to the union. However, he reserves the right to offer personal advice. For example, he confronts Obi about his relationship with Clara, whom he calls ‘‘a girl of doubtful ancestry.’’ Sebastian Sebastian is Obi Okonkwo’s steward. He is somewhat confused by Obi’s orders to turn off the refrigerator at night, but to buy foods at the market only once a week.
Miss Marie Tomlinson
Miss Marie Tomlinson, a young Englishwoman, is Mr. William Green’s secretary and shares an office with Obi at the Scholarship Board. Although she is attractive, Obi is at first wary of her, suspecting that she may be reporting on him, but gradually he lets down his guard and the two become friendly. They speak frequently about their coworker Mr. Green, whom Marie views as a good man, although somewhat odd.
Sara Constantakis, Novels for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Novels – Chinua Achebe, Volume 33, Gale-Cengage Learning, 2010