Marriage Is a Private Affair

by Chinua Achebe

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Identify where there is hope in Nene's letter to Okeke at the end of "Marriage is a Private Affair."

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Nene's emotional frame of reference is complex in her letter to Okeke.  There is a sense of sadness to it in that she readily acknowledges that the relationship between she and her father in law will, to a great extent, be ruptured.  Yet, I think that Nene's hope at the end of her letter to Okeke is fairly powerful in that it is a desire to seek resolution without sacrifice to her own sense of dignity.  The letter speaks to the idea that she is a mother who wishes the best for her children, boys who wish to know their grandfather.  She does not let her own sense of dignity and pride impact their own connection.  In her statement about how she "will remain in Lagos," there is a sadness, but a sense of the resolute present.  She had been shown in the story as one who will not be defined by setback and adversity, but actually rise above it.  She also does not show herself to be a woman that wishes to break the bond between her husband and his father.  She clearly states that the three of them in terms of the father and the two sons wish to visit Okeke.  The hope present is that she will not deny or repudiate this in the same way that Okeke's demeanor has done in terms of his son's and Nene's marriage. It is in this where hope is evident, that moral ascendancy and transcendency is evident in her actions, the actions of a young person.  It is in this that we see Okeke's "resolution he had built up over so many years falling in."  It is here where there is hope and where there is redemption at the end of her letter.

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