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In "Marriage is a Private Affair," how do Okeke's conflicts, both internal and...

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arseng | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted October 4, 2011 at 4:17 PM via web

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In "Marriage is a Private Affair," how do Okeke's conflicts, both internal and external, cause him to change?

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

Posted October 4, 2011 at 7:25 PM (Answer #1)

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In the story, we are told of the way in which Okeke manages to conquer his desire to see his son and his new wife by sticking to his rigid belief that his son should have married somebody from his own tribe. This itself ushed in a massive internal conflict that "nearly killed him" with the strain, but in the end, Okeke manages to be successful and lives without having any contact at all with his son and his family.

However, what raises the stakes of the conflict and makes it impossible to fight any more is the letter that he is sent by his daughter-in-law informing him that he has two grandsons who are desperate to see him and want to get to know him. Note how Okeke responds to this news:

The old man at once felt the resolution he had built up over so many years falling in. He was telling himself that he must not give in. He tried to steel his heart against all emotional appeals. It was a reenactment of theat other struggle.

In the end, it is clear that this conflict has forced him to completely reverse his position, as he is unable to sleep that night from "remorse" and the fear that he might die before he has had a chance to "make it up to them." The massive conflict that Okeke has been under in terms of following tradition and emphasising the importance of the tribe has resulted in his complete change when he found out about the existence of his grandchildren.

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