Marriage Is a Private Affair by Chinua Achebe

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How can you explain the characters of Okeke and Mrs. Emenike in "Marriage is a Private Affair" and "Vengeful Creditor" respectively?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that this is a really interesting dynamic being established by the question.  Certainly, one similarity between both characters is that they demonstrate an inability to fully grasp the changing conditions of the modern setting.  Okeke is steeped in tribal and village tradition in which children adhere to the wishes of their parents in the issue of marriage. He displays a certain reticence to the conditions of change in which his son would be able to choose the girl he wants to marry.  Mrs. Emenike is similar in that she does not fully accept the modern condition in which people from a lower economic strata would not simply accept their condition as what is and what should be.  She demonstrates an inability to fully understand or adapt to a condition in which the poor seek an education and the upward mobility that comes along with it.  This is where both characters demonstrate some similarities in that both are unwilling to accept the conditions of change and modernization that is thrust upon them.  Mrs. Emenike does not really move away from this position, while the end of Okeke's narrative shows him as able to understand the mistake intrinsic to his position.

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