Marriage Is a Private Affair

by Chinua Achebe

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What are Nnaemeka's views on marriage in "Marriage is a Private Affair" and his father's counter-arguments?

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Nnaemeka's argument about marriage in "Marriage is a Private Affair" is that it is acceptable for him to marry Nene as she is a good Christian. He also says that she's a teacher at a girls' school in Lagos. His father counters his son's argument by insisting that no Christian woman should teach. He attempts to back up his argument by quoting from Scripture.

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In their earlier discussion, Nnaemeka had been frank with Nene about his father's likely disapproval of their getting married. As a traditional Ibo male, Nnaemeka's father firmly believes that his son should not marry outside of his tribe. As Nene is not an Ibo, it's therefore almost certain that Nnaemeka's father will emphatically reject her as his daughter-in-law.

When Nnaemeka meets up with his father, his worst fears are confirmed. He candidly tells his old man that he's engaged to Nene Atang, a good Christian woman who teaches in a girls' school in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria.

Nnaemeka is obviously trying to overcome his father's objections by highlighting his fiancée's positive qualities. But his old man's having none of it. He immediately explodes, firmly insisting that no Christian woman should teach. To back up his argument, he quotes from Scripture; to be specific, from St. Paul, who, in one of his letters to the Corinthians, said that women should remain silent.

Despite this father's objections, Nnaemeka is certain that he will warm to Nene when he finally gets a chance to meet her. But Nnaemeka's father remains as stubborn as ever; as he bluntly tells his son, he will never see her.

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