Marriage Is A Private Affair Summary

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This excellent short story by Chinua Achebe concerns the return of a young Ibo man named Nnaemeka from Lagos in Nigeria to the countryside where he was born and grew up. He tells his father that he wishes to marry Nene, a young woman that he met in the big capital city. However, Okeke, his father, refuses to accept this marriage because Nene comes from a different tribe. In fact, as it is expected, Okeke has chosen a wife for his son from their tribe. Nnaemeka, however, rejects his father's will and shows a determination to marry the woman that he chooses for himself. Because of this, he returns to Nene and the city. Equally stubborn, Okeke refuses to accept the wedding picture that his son sends him, cutting Nene out of it as a symbol of the way that he cannot accept his marrige. It appears that no reconciliation is possible. It is only much later on that Nene writes to her father-in-law saying that her two sons want to meet and to get to know their grandfather. It is this move that makes Okeke regret his actions at distancing himself from his son and his grandchildren, and as the story ends we see Okeke resolving to make up for the time that he has lost.

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