How are grandchildren instrumental in reuniting the family in "Marriage Is a Private Affair"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is clear that the grandchildren whom Okeke discovers that he has through the letter that Nene sends to him are key to reuniting the family. When he hears that his grandchildren want to meet him and get to know him, this softens Okeke's heart toward his daughter-in-law and son and how his son picked a wife from outside of the tribe. Note how he responds to this news of his grandchildren:

Okeke was trying hard not to think of his two grandsons. But he knew he was now fighting a losing battle. He tried to hum a favourite hymn but the pattering of large raindrops on the roof broke up the tune. His mind immediately returend to the children. How could he shut his door against them?

It is the fact of his grandchildren that makes Okeke radically reassess his belief that marriage is a private affair and that it should not occur outside of tribal relations. His desire to see his grandchildren and make up for his absence to them overpowers other concerns, and the story ends with Okeke falling asleep, consumed with remorse and a fear that it might be too late.

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