MARRIAGE IS A PRIVATE AFFAIR
“Marriage Is A Private Affair” by Chinua Achebe revolves around the marriage of Nnameka and Nene. Nnameka and Nene worked in Lagos, where they got in touch and eventually fell in love. Nnameka was from the Ibo land of Africa. His father had conservative ideas about marriage. According to him, a prospective daughter-in-law should have ‘good behaviour’ and a ‘Christian background’. He found such a girl in the neighbourhood and made arrangements to marry her off to Nnameka, only his consent was required. But Nnameka was engaged to Nene. Ibos expected marriage procedures to be carried out under their supervision. Nnameka‘s father Okeke, expected no less. He also knew that breaking the news to him in a letter would be to reveal a shock. When Nnameka went to his hometown for vacation, he gently ‘disclosed his discreet engagement’ to Neneatang, to his father. A look of disconcertment clouded Okeke’s face immediately. His disappointment grew even more when Nnameka informed him that Nene worked as a teacher. He believed that ‘good Christian women did not become teachers’. Nnameka efforts at convincing his father were in vain. Nnameka went back to Lagos after the vacation. He left with a heavy heart. Meanwhile, elder men of his village continued to discuss how ‘unheard of’ Nnameka‘s actions were. In Lagos, Nnameka married Nene. He sent his wedding picture to Okoke to lighten his stubbornness but they received the picture in a few days in a ‘mutilated form’ from him. Nene’s heart was filled with grief at the sight of the mutilated picture of her wedding in which she was cut off from Nnameka by Okeke. Though she was ‘modern in her approach to life’, breaking the norms confining women to a conservative society, she knew the importance of family bonding and elder’s blessings. She wrote a letter to Okeke putting forth her feelings. She requested him to accept his grandchildren, not deprive them of a grandfather’s...
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