’Marriage is a private affair’ – by Chinua Achebe
‘Marriage is a private affair’ is a short story written by Chinua Achebe, in the year 1952. The story takes place in Lagos in Nigeria in the 1950ies. The most important point in this story is the cultural and religious differences between Nene and Nnaemeka’s families. Therefor the main theme of the text is the clash between two cultures. The text is also dealing with other subthemes such as, love, arranged marriage, father and son relationship (Nnaemeka’s respect for his father) and of course family. The title of the story says a lot, because it pretty much sums up the message of the story. Chinua Achebe is with his story trying to point out that marriage is a private affair, and no one but yourself should decide who you want to spent the rest of your life with. I also think he is trying to illustrate that no matter how much you love your religion, culture and traditions, it can never be unaffected by the natural love you feel towards your family. The story is told by an omniscient third person narrator, and is about two young lovers with different cultural and religious backgrounds, and the difficulties that it causes them. The big problem in the story is that Nnaemeka has found a girl – Nene – that he loves, but his family has traditions for arranged marriages. Nnaemeka is really nervous about telling his father about Nene, because his father cares a lot about their traditions. To his father, marriage is like business, a business that he has to be part of; we see an example of that in the letter send to Nnaemeka by his father (p.2 l.3): “I have found a girl who will suit you admirably—Ugoye Nweke, the eldest daughter of our neighbor, Jacob Nweke. She has a proper Christian upbringing. When she stopped schooling some years ago her father (a man of sound judgment) sent her to live in the house of a pastor where she has received all the training a wife could need. Her Sunday school teacher has told me that she...
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