Assess the cultural relavance of "Marriage is a Private Affair." 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The original question had to be edited.  I would suggest that the cultural relevance of Achebe's story lies in how there is a fundamental changing of social perception regarding institutions such as marriage.  The fact that Okeke is resistant to change and does whatever he can to ensure that his son and his daughter in law are not happy is almost secondary to how they pursue happiness.  Nnaemeka is not elated at how he is disappointing his father.  However, "marriage is a private affair" and is something that he pursues any way.  The cultural boundaries are changing in how the young do believe in marriage for love and not out of duty or misplaced responsibility.  It is in this where there is a definite cultural relevance to the story.  Should the older generation wish to remain steadfast in their ways and refuse to adopt the elements of social change, the result will be alienation and isolation.  Okeke is hit with immediate grief and regret that he has lost time with his son and grandsons.  

For her part, Nene shows that she is not impacted with Okeke's coarse and cruel rejection.  She is steadfast in her own sense of being as a modern woman who wishes to make a life for her family.  In her resilience and in Okeke's regret, one sees how the story is culturally relevant for a changing world where young people are able to envision what can and should be as opposed to merely conforming to what is.

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