Marriage is a Private Affair by Chinua Achebe: An Analysis

Topics: Marriage, Family, Chinua Achebe Pages: 2 (459 words) Published: April 9, 2014
Love and Marriage
“Marriage is a Private Affair” by Chinua Achebe is a short story about a man who belonged to the Ibibio-land, a tribal community that believes in arranged marriages. Nnaemeka, the main character, is an Ibo who went against his tribal beliefs, especially his father’s, in order to marry a woman based on love. Nene, his wife and a Lagos resident, encouraged Nnaemeka to reach out to his father, Okeke, to set aside his tribal beliefs and be a part of his nontraditional family. Okeke stubbornly rejected any pleadings from his son as he was set in the old ways of the Ibo peoples. However, reluctance by his father was shown in the end of the story when Okeke read a letter from his son stating that he had a grandson. This story is worth reading because it shows irony in love, how it is a source of rejection and eventual reconnection.

Achebe wanted his readers to be attached to the feelings of Nnaemeka, his wife, and his father. Okeke never knew anything other than to follow his tribe’s ways. Rebelling against the tradition was taboo, however, Nnaemeka decided, despite these traditions, it was his choice. Okeke’s harsh, stubborn adherence to tradition is displayed in his saying,“I owe it to you, my son, as a duty to show you what is right and what is wrong. Whoever put this idea into your head might as well have cut your throat. It is Satan’s work”. (260) Okeke refused him as a son and Nene was a lady who never existed. Nnaemeka never gave up on his relationship with his father and told Nene, “Don’t cry, my darling. He is essentially good-natured and will one day look more kindly on our marriage” (261). Years later Okeke’s feelings were a source of conflict for him when he received a letter from Nene telling him of his two grandsons and that Nnaemeka would soon be bringing to meet him. Okeke was outraged and tried distracting himself by humming a tune to the raindrops hitting the roof, but to no avail.

Achebe reminds us that conforming to...
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