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Marriage Is a Private Affair

by Chinua Achebe

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How would you describe Okeke's personality in "Marriage Is a Private Affair"?

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Okeke in "Marriage Is a Private Affair" is depicted as a strict, religious, and intolerant man. His unwavering adherence to religious dogma makes him resistant to change and emotionally detached, especially toward his son, Nnaemeka. Okeke's callous and implacable nature strains his relationship with his son, but he eventually shows signs of emotional growth and reconciliation upon learning about his grandsons.

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Okeke is a man who has attached all of his personal morality to the dogmatic rules of his religion. Because of this, he is a man that is incredibly severe, strict, and resistant to any external threat of change or emotion. At times he is deliberately obtuse, wanting to hear nothing of Nnaemeka's feelings of love or even his life outside of his father's clutches. Nnaemeka continues communication with his father even after abandoning his village because he believes truly that his father is a good man.

This insensitivity ultimately reflects Okeke as a fearful man. He fears that his son has turned from the way of God and that he will suffer God's wrath if he continues associating with his son. In the end, Okeke does show some courage by allowing himself to feel emotion upon hearing the news of his grandsons. The reader is meant to believe that Okeke did become a less fearful man and reconcile with his new family.

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Nnaemeka's father, Okeke, is a strict, religious man who is intolerant to change. Throughout the novel, Achebe portrays Okeke's religious zeal by depicting him reading the Bible and quoting scripture. Okeke is also a callous man who rejects his son for deciding to marry Nene. He is utterly implacable and refuses to change his opinion on Nnaemeka and his wife. Okeke's unforgiving attitude ruins his relationship with his son and causes him much stress. Okeke is also arrogant and thinks that he is smarter than his neighbors. He dismisses their superstitious beliefs and rarely pays attention to their opinions. Repressing his love and affection for his son takes a toll on Okeke, but he is able to push his thoughts to the back his mind until he receives a picture of Nnaemeka's children. Okeke's ability to repress his emotions illustrates his determined and resolute character.

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What kind of man is Okeke in the short story "Marriage Is a Private Affair"?

Okeke is a proud, stubborn man who finally feels regret at the end of the story.

Okeke can be characterized by his commitment to his religious beliefs and his tribal affiliation. He only rejects Nene because isn't from the right tribe; Okeke has already selected a Christian woman to be his son's bride and he refuses to recognize or support Nnaemeka's marriage to Nene. Even though his son is happy and in love, he refuses to yield. Nnaemeka thinks his father will give in but years pass without Okeke doing so.

Okeke is so proud that others don't approach him when they meet Nene and like her. He has a temper whenever the topic is raised. They don't tell Okeke that Nnaemeka has a good marriage; they don't tell him that he should reach out to his son. Okeke is so stubborn that he's willing to let the rift continue even though it pains him. Ultimately, Nene reaches out to tell Okeke about his grandsons and this is what moves him to feel regret. That night, he thinks that he hopes he has a chance to make it up to them before he dies, showing that he isn't all bad. Chinua Achebe says, "That night he hardly slept, from remorse—and a vague fear that he might die without making it up to them."

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What kind of man is Okeke in the short story "Marriage Is a Private Affair"?

Okeke is Nnaemeka's father who disapproves of his son marrying Nene. Okeke is a religious man who follows a strict interpretation of the Bible. Achebe writes that Okeke routinely reads the scriptures and he even criticizes Nene's occupation as a teacher because it goes against what he interprets Paul to say is a woman's role in society. Okeke is also a very resolute man who is determined to not accept his son's marriage. Okeke cares deeply about Nnaemenka's well-being but is too rigid in his traditional beliefs to accept his son's decision. Okeke is also an intelligent man who rejects his neighbors' superstitious beliefs and rarely argues with them because he says, "they are incapable of reasoning." Okeke is essentially an implacable, unforgiving individual who is deeply conflicted. At the end of the story, Achebe suggests that Okeke's decision to open his door to his son is a likely possibility.

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