Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Longer at Ease's quick ending

To add onto the previous blog, I think that whether or not society is responsible, it is definately held accountable. I'm not sure if a child's behavior it's the "educator's" responsiblity, but at some point or another, those educators -or society in general- will carry the stigma of teaching "problem kids." Baltimore county has some tough schools. I don't think that is any fault of the teachers, in fact I think the teachers in Baltimore County are exceptional when compared to other areas. But I do think that the general public will make a scapegoat out of the educational system sooner than blame a parent.

Anyway, now that I'm off my soapbox, I'd like to move on to something different. I found it very interesting in Achebe's work how quickly and suddenly he dealt with the problem of Obi's corruption. There does not seem to be any hint of it before the last chapter and it is over before it really begins. Achebe was not being hasty here, in fact I think he meant for this to come out of nowhere. He did this for two reasons. First, he knows that the reader already knows what will happen to Obi so he doesn't dive deep into the actual act. Instead he focuses on the events leading up to it, emphasizing the journey it actually takes to go from Obi's moral high horse to being corrupt.

Secondly, he also seems to want to emphasize that his abruptness in writing reflects what is oftentimes an impulsive decision. Obi does not contemplate taking bribes for very long. Instead, he makes the decision practically overnight to start using bribe money to pay his dues. This, in turn, shows a unique character about cities in general. Achebe wants to show how a city can, figuratively speaking, gobble you up. Obi, though at first he relies on his rural morality to help him get through life in Lagos without taking bribes, is broken down by the city and conforms to its will. In other words, someone who lives in New York is a New Yorker. It is very unlikely that someone who lives in any particular city is not in some way changed or affected by that city's collective perspective.