Marriage is a Private Affair Summary Questions and Answers
Write down a summary of Marriage Is A Private Affair.
Chinua Achebe is the most influential African writer who has presented in his novels and short stories an authetic account of the African society, especially the conflict between tradition and modernity. In this short story also we have this very theme presented in a poignant manner.
Nnaemeka and Neve, belonging to two different tribes, meet in Lagos and decide to marry. But as Nnaemeka knows that his father, Okeke, would not agree to this he postpones communication of this fact to him by post or direct means. When he arives at home for a short vocation Okeke tells him that they have selected Ugoye, the eldest daughter of their neighbour, as his wife.
But very firmly does Nnaemeka refuse to marry the girl chosen by his parents. This shocks Okeke; and in a fit of anger he stops speaking to him. When Nnaemeka’s intention of marrying a girl from other tribe is known to other villagers they are mortified and express great sympathy for Okeke.
They even suggest that the local medicine man should be consulted and Nnaemeka be given some herbal drugs to cure him of this mental derangement. But Okeke, in spite of being rigid about parental authority, is free from these superstitions.
Back in Lagos Nnaemeka marries Nene and the estrangement between the father and the son is complete. To Nnaemeka’s request for spending some part of his vacation Okeke gives a very harsh reply. It would be unfair to say that Okeke endured this separation from his son without a mental conflict. He suffered inwardly, but he could not bring himself to accept the unconventional marriage.
After a few years Okeke receives a letter from Nene. She had written that Ins two guardians wanted to be with him and she had found it impossible to let them know of the old man’s opposition. Okeke reads the letter and an unusual Suiiening results which was further supported by the sudden rains. His mind Ganges and he spends the night, full of remorse and regret over his undue harshness.
The story makes a very honest study of the hold of social authority jn image in African society. In spite of being true Christians and adapting in selves to modem ways of living and education, there are still old people like Okeke who prefer to be cheated by old norms. That the problem has a human angle is nicely revealed in the letter of Nene and the subsequent sentimental reaction of Okeke.
Find instances of conflict between tradition and modernism ii the story.
The dialogue between Okeke and Nnaemeka is full of the conflict between tradition and modernism. Nnaemeka tells his father that he cannot marry Ugoye as he does not love her; his father says that it was not expected at all of him. Then Nnaemeka has to admit that he is already, engaged to Nene, a girl who teaches in a Christain girl’s school. Okeke is not persuaded nor does he believe that a Christian woman should teach.
He quetes St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in which he had had said that women should keep silence. It is clear that Okeke continues to believe in values and practices that were observed by his society. He thinks that they are so sacrosant that they cannot be changed. It is a pity that he quotes the Bible to support his ‘ arguments.
The second instance can be seen in Okeke’s rigid stance after Nnaemeka’s marriage. That he does not allow his son and daughter-in-law to call on him is an indication of the hold of tradition on him.
What made Nanaemcka’s father change his attitude to hi; daughter-in-law ?
Neke, the wife of Nnaemeka, bore the ill-will of her father in law almost ungrudgingly. She had reconciled himself her to the fact that the two of them, the husband and the wife, were not to go to the native village.
But when her two sons wanted to meet their grand father she wrote a moving letter to the old man. Okeke’s heart was instantly softened by the feelings of his grandsons.
To this softening was added the influence of the sudden rains. The rains brought a healing touch Okeke realised that it was a mistake on his part to be so harsh towards the family of his son. His attitude therefore changed.