In this short story by Achebe, the author explores the stubbornness of the older generation, specifically, Okeke, the father, in accepting the right of his son to choose his own wife. Ironically, marriage becomes a symbol of division rather than unity. Generally, marriage is thought to unite families, but in this case, marriage destroys the relationship of the father and son until the end of the story when Okeke finds out he has grandchildren.
When Nnaemeka decides to marry a woman from Lagos, Nene, Okeke is in disbelief. This disbelief turns to anger and resentment: In fact, "for eight years, Okeke would have nothing to do with his son, Nnaemeka." The marriage symbolizes the breach in the relationship between father and son.
However, at the end of the story, there appears hope the relationship can be saved when Okeke finally feels remorse for his actions and hopes he can make it up to his son and his son's family.