Which character do you think is the most sympathetically portrayed?  

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are basically only three characters in Chinua Achebe's short story "Marriage is a Private Affair," Nnaemeka, Nene and Nnaemeka's father Ugoye. Of the three it could be argued that Nene is portrayed most symphatically. In the exposition of the story she seems oblivious to the idea that Nnaemeka's father could object to the couple's marriage. She very much wants Nnaemeka to announce their relationship to his father. She was apparently raised by parents who did not display the prejudices inherent in the small village where Nnaemeka grew up.

She cannot believe that Ugoye would object to her on ethnic grounds. After all, she is a successful woman who is a teacher and, according to stories told by the Ibo women of Lagos, quite a good homemaker as well. She breaks down and cries when she discovers the "mutilated picture" of her marriage which is returned by Ugoye with her photograph cut out and a letter indicating he wants nothing to do with his son's wife. Later, however, Nene is the catalyst which may bring the family back together. After several years in which Ugoye shunned his son, Nene sends a letter telling him that the couple now has two sons who would very much like to see their grandfather. The letter seems to soften Ugoye and the text suggests that Ugoye will reunite with his son and his family. In the end, Nene's courage to communicate with Ugoye will ultimately bring father and son back together.   

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Marriage Is a Private Affair

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