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Marriage Is a Private Affair

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Marriage Is a Private Affair

Page 1 of 17
Summary/Paraphrase Chinua Achebe – “Marriage is a Private Affair”

Setting – the action of this story takes place in two locations
Lagos, Nigeria – a modern city
An Igbo village in Nigeria

Characters –
Nene – fiancée and later the wife of Naemeka; she is from the Ibibio tribe. She has been educated at the university and is a school teacher. She is a modern young Nigerian woman who wants to be accepted by her husband’s father. Naemeka – young Nigerian man from the Igbo tribe who has moved to the city of Lagos and has fallen in love with Nene. He realizes that his father will not approve of his marriage but he goes ahead and marries the woman he loves. Okeke – Naemake’s father; very religious; a rule follower; believes in traditional view that marriages should be arranged by the families, that people should never marry outside of their own tribe. He is the most dynamic character in the story and undergoes the greatest change when he feels remorse for rejecting his daughter in law and plans to make it up to her as soon as possible at the end of the story.

Ugoye Nweke – woman that Naemeka’s father has arranged for him to marry

Plot summary
Exposition
A young man from an Igbo village meets a young Ibibio woman in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. They have fallen in love and intend to marry. The young woman wants the young man to send a letter to his father telling him of their engagement. The young man is hesitant because he knows his father has already arranged for him to marry a young Igbo woman from his village, in accordance with traditional customs. Instead, he goes home to the village to inform his father in person.

Rising Action
External conflict
Person against person – son and father oppose each other in deciding whom the son will marry. Father refuses to acknowledge the young woman that his son loves. He cuts her picture out of the wedding photo and sends it back to them. Person against society – initially, the...