Cultural Identity In 1960's 'No Longer At Ease'

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The theme of No Longer at Ease (1960) epitomizes issues of cultural identity caused by colonial power in Nigeria The native Igbo people in Lagos are captivated by Englishness in daily routine making them aware of their social status and the challenge to preserve the culture. Stuart Hall points out about the cultural identity that ‘Essentialist conceptualizations of identity claim there is an authentic cultural identity, a “true self”, which “people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common” (Hall 1996:111). The unequal relationship with colonial power stamps the questions on the cultural identity of the Igbo people. Achebe remarks the problematic situation, ‘Titles are no longer great, neither are barns or large numbers of wives and children. Greatness is now in the things of the white man. And so we too have changed our tune.’(NLE: 42) The remark of an Igbo is the awareness of the influence of colonial power. There are the two worlds: the native world of the Igbo people and ‘the white man’. The native Igbo people were caught into the two spheres in order to survive and preserve their cultural heritage.
The colonial encounter from the African perspectives in colonial Nigeria on the verge of Independence penetrates the chaos in the cultural identity of the Nigerian people. Obi, the protagonist and an Igbo villager is the only hope of advancement in the colony by European education. ‘Obi 's theory that the public service of Nigeria would remain corrupt until the old
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