chapter  1
6 Pages

Introduction: Why Death? Why the United States?

In his novel No Longer at Ease, the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe describes THEFOLLOWINGCRISIS/BIRAISEDINAVILLAGEBUTNOWPROSPERINGASAWHITE COLLAR WORKERINTHECITYOF,AGOSINTHESHASCOMETOENJOYHISWORKROUTINEAND lifestyle, including regular dances and a fair amount of womanizing. Then his mother dies. He sends money back for the funeral, but, due to his job and his dating schedule, he just does not have time to go himself. To the villagers, his behavior is a “thing of shame”—for he should have gone home not just for the funeral but for an extended period of mourning. As one old man put it: “This boy that we are all talking about, what has he done? He was told that his mother died and he did not care. It is a strange and surprising thing.”1