In "Marriage is a Private Affair," where are the points of similarities and differences between Nnaemeka and Okeke?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Father and son possess some basic similarities.  One particular connection is that both are passionate about their beliefs.  Okeke is adament about his son following his wishes about marriage.  Nnaemeka is committed to his relationship with Nene.  When the conflict between both emerge, neither really surrenders their original point of view.  There is a lack of acquiescence in both.  This is exactly where I think that Achebe's characterizations are strong.  They both do not experience full authenticity in their beliefs, but they don't back down from them.  Nnaemeka does not really feel comfortably in angering his father, but he does.  Okeke does relent in his feelings about his son and grandsons, but he still refuses to accept Nene as his daughter in law.  In this, both father and son possess ambivalence about their choices, but neither one changes their choices despite such obvious apprehension.  In terms of specific differences, I think that Okeke is more representative of cultural tradition, while his son is more of modernity.  The former remains in his village with elders, adhering to tribal codes of conduct, while the son is in the city and more able to prove willing to embrace the modern condition.  This helps to bring out a fundamental theme of the short story in the collision between tradition and modernity.