Arguably, there are tremendous changes in the world today. At an individual level there are conflicting interests between the modern way of life and traditional lifestyle. In some occasion, it is difficult to make decisions on whether to adopt the new way of life or to follow the traditional way. In the novel, no longer at ease, Obi Okonkwo is in a conflicting scenarios, whereby in his torn by various demands which include romance, friendship, religion, village, social class, profession, as well as tribal. Perhaps, it has become very difficult to define and clearly elaborate on where we belong, and who individuals depend on. As a matter of fact, change is inevitable, meaning as an individual it is very difficult to ignore the impacts of change. Studying in England introduces Obi Okwonko into a new culture, while he still has the traditional values that are adhered in his country.
Conversely, Obi’s Okonkwo decisions in terms of obligation and loyalty depends tremendously on his view of the demands that are driven by conflicting issues. Obi in one hand believes that he has an obligation to fulfil in the community, nation, and at the family level. On the other hand, the modern culture is a culture that pushes for individualism. In fact, his education in the western region of the world has made Obi view the issue of family, nation, community, and religion differently. In terms of obligation Obi can clearly be indicated has an individual who does not belong to anywhere. After spending four years studying abroad, Obi Okonkwo has a different view of his obligation. In fact, Obi decisions on loyalty and obligation were independent since he believed he was shabby.
The western education has helped him ascertain good post that is always meant for white individuals. In fact, he would not allow ancient customs, tribal council or his father to dictate on his obligation and loyalty. The decisions on money, education and marriage was his own independent decision. Obi due to western influence has created a barrier between Obi Okonkwo and his people. As a matter of fact, Obi feels he is not obligated to the community friends or family. The Western form of education has isolated him from important aspects of traditional life.
Obi decisions on obligation and loyalty to various stakeholders is conflicting. The people of Umuofia sacrificed to send Obi to study in England. The people believed that Obi will come back home to help his people in various ways, especially in navigating the western world. Obi completely switches his obligatory perspectives and focus on various issues that do not align with the community. Obi does not fulfill his obligation as expected by the society. Obi fell in love with one of the girls against the wishes of his father and the community. This further made him an outcast in the society. When obi came back home he decides to act differently at home, and sways away from tradition. For example, Obi dresses differently from pothers in the community by wearing a short-sleeved shirt. Moreover, Obi is speaking casual English yet, the community expected him to speak using heavy English.
The family and the society had different views on the obligation of Obi. In the village and family setup, children have no rights that bound their parents. The issue of rights is seen as a modern culture and innovation. Hence, the family believes that Obi Okonkwo has an obligation in respecting his parents and the community at large. Modern innovation, came up with the issue that grown ups such as Okonkwo are free from obedience and obligation to their parents. The family claims that Okonkwo has distanced himself from them, especially by getting married to Clara. Okonkwos village asserts that Clara comes from a cursed family and should not be associated with them. The community lays various obligations to Okonkwo just because they believe they sent him to England to study and be of great help. Obi Okonkwo is born in a village where all his folks live; this implies that despite the education that he has gained, he is expected to be loyal to his folks and villages. In the modern innovation, communal loyalty and obligation is not important. Generally, Obi Okonkwo is torn between modern innovations that he learned through his studies in England and the traditions of Nigeria.
The issues that Okonkwo faced are the realities in the world today. Making decisions on obligations and loyalty to the community, family, friends and religion is very difficult. In the modern ear, a sense of individuals has overwhelmed the traditional aspect of communism. At an individual point of view, obligations and loyalty have changed tremendously. Individuals only focus on the nuclear family, meaning there is less attachment to the community. Parents and advice from community elders is crucial since they have some wisdom. Obi Okonkwo in the long run failed financially. In fact, Obi sank into financial problems due to poor planning; he was expected to fulfil various obligations.
Just like Obi it is easy to be caught between cultural extremes, which is traditional values and modern innovation. It is actually difficult to fully switch from tne culture to another to another. In the contemporary society, education is very crucial, whereas on the other hand traditional values have its importance. Each culture has a role to play in developing a whole rounded individual. The life of Obi is a clear presentation of the life that exists today in the modern world and Nigeria. For example, Obi was a victim of corruption and bribery, practices that still exist today. Based on the past, it is clear that it is difficult to eradicate corruption in Africa.
Actually, there are many changes in the globe today. This change places us in a crossroad, whether to choose a modern culture or the traditional culture. Just like Okonkwo,there are various personal changes that straddle different cultures and communities. Hence, an individual is forced to have various identities, which is expected to adhere to all. I feel there is a conflict of identities in the community and at personal level. During childhood, the society molds individuals to be the people they want them to be. But, due to modern innovations individuals are made to change to adopt the new world. There are conflicting identities in terms of language, religion, communication, social class, marriage, and socialization. Change is a continues process that individuals should readjusted slowly. These conflicting identities are inevitable and the only way to handle is to develop strategies to handle them.
Certainly, it is crucial to find ways to resolve conflicting identities. In order to resolve these conflicting identities, understanding of the cultural values plays a critical role. Comprehending differences in cultures that exist helps in developing knowledge to adjust them. In addition, as an individual it is beneficial to accept all cultural changes with unbiasness. In the case of Okonkwo, it is evident that he neglected other traditional values and morals. This affected his entire life; Obi became part of corruption and bribe.
Education should not be a barrier to the traditional culture and accessibility of African culture. Other traditional beliefs are a complete setback. For example, in the case of Obi Okonkwo traditions became a destructive tool in his relationship with Clara. Such traditional beliefs should be avoided since it breaks family unity. Integrating of both cultures strengthens the link between modern innovations and traditional beliefs. Generally, the conflicting identities can be resolved by asserting equal importance to traditional cultures and modern innovations, as well as adhering to critical demands of friends, family, and community.