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What are the various themes of the story Marriage is a Private Affair by Chinua...

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adityablitz | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 4, 2012 at 3:19 PM via web

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What are the various themes of the story Marriage is a Private Affair by Chinua Achebe?

I need some details for my literature project. I want to know about the the various themes in the story and the various examples from the story to support it.

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sunithasrivastava | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 5, 2012 at 7:13 PM (Answer #1)

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The prime theme of the story is, the difference between the temperments of the two generations. Okeke belonged to the Ibo tribe which occupies interior part of Nigeria. The people of that tribe were superstitious and religious.Okeke did not have any supersticious belief, but he was very religious and believed in the traditions of his tribe. He believed in the rules made by the authority and extended full support to it. As he says,"No Christian woman should teach. St Paul in his letter to the Corinthians says that women should keep silence." But he did not shut his eyes and followed the advice given by his tribal men to take Nnaemeka to the herbalist.He refuses and says "I will not be another Mrs Ochuba" He was unable to understand the feelings of his son towards Nene. His soul did not permit him to accept cosmopolitan attitude.

Whereas Nnaemeka, was having very wider outlook even though he belonged to the same tribe. The education and life style made him to understand Nene would a better life partner for him. At the same time, he was well aware of the fact that his father would not accept his thinking. For the same reason, he did not want to write a letter to his father regarding the marriage proposal.He said to Nene,"It would not be wise to break the news to him by writing.  letter will bring it upon him with a shock. I"m quite sure about that." The conflict  continues until Okeke came to know about his grandsons, after eight years.

The other important theme is the intercaste marriage. Okeke believed that a girl of his tribe would make a perfect match for his son, who is well versed in household work and reading of the Bible.Whereas Nnameka was horrified at the thought of the girl who was selected by his father. In no way he thought Ugoye was a perfect match for him as from his childhoold he had the impression that she was a dunce. Both father and son were comfortable at their thinking and felt they were justified in thinking so. 

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