Marriage is a Private Affair -Chinua Achebe Four Level -Bikram Adhikari

Marriage is a Private Affair

 Literal Comprehension: Nnaemeka, a university student, loved Nene, a school teacher, and the two had got engaged. In the mean time, Nnaemeka received a letter from his father, Okeke. In the letter, Okeke had told his son that he had found a girl, Ugoye, for Nnaemeka and so he should go home and get things settled. Nene wanted Nnaemeka to inform his father about their engagement so that the father could also be happy in the happiness of his son. Nnaemeka, however, knew that his father would not be happy when he heard that Nnaemeka had found a girl for himself. Besides, Nene belonged to the Atang tribe while Nnaemeka belonged to the Ibo, and inter-tribal marriages were not acceptable in Nnaemeka’s village. Nene, however, had always lived in the city and she could not understand how anybody could be unhappy in his or her children’s happiness. Nnaemeka went home during the vacation period and informed his father that he could marry Ugoye. Nnaemeka flatly told his father that he loved Nene and he could marry her only. Okeke learned that his son was marrying a girl from another tribal group, and he warned Nnaemeka that Nnaemeka would lose his father if he married Nene. Nnaemeka went to the city and married Nene in spite of his father’s warning, and the relation between the father and the son ended. Eight years passed, and during these years, Nnaemeka came to see his father a few times. However, he stopped visiting his father because Okeke would treat him very coldly. Then Okeke received a letter from Nene after eight years. In the letter, Nene informed her father-in-law that they had two sons, who wanted to see their grandfather very much. Nene requested Okeke to allow Nnaemeka to come to see his father with their two sons. Okeke did not know that he had two grandsons. So, this news filled him with remorse, and he could not sleep that night. He was afraid that he might die before he saw his children.

Interpretation: The message of this story is self-evident. It is in the title itself. It conveys the message that marriage is a private affair, and no one should try to interfere into this affair. If anybody does, he or she will gain nothing. Like Okeke, such a person will have to live alone in the old age, and his or her life will be filled with remorse at the end. The story also has another message. It seems to suggest that love is the basis of happiness in married life. Okeke and his villagers thought that Nnaemeka could not be happy with Nene because she belonged to another tribe. They also thought that Nnaemeka could not be happy because he had married Nene against the wish of his father. However, both Nene and Nnaemeka lived happily because they would love each other truly.

Critical Thought: This story is very realistic. It gives the true picture of a transitional society. Nnaemeka and Nene’s society is a transitional society. Here both old and new values exist, and the two kinds of values are always in a conflict. The story shows this conflict very realistically. Okeke represents the old value. He thinks that it is his responsibility to find a life partner for his son. He also thinks that marriages should occur only within the same tribal group. A person who acts against such principles, according to Okeke, cannot be happy. Nnaemeka and Nene, however, represent new values. They think that marriage is a private affair and only love can be the basis of happiness in married life. The story dramatizes the conflict between these two kinds of values. Ultimately, the old value gets defeated, and the new value gets triumphant. So, this story has a progressive message to convey to the reader.

Assimilation: I found this story to be very interesting. It touched me because it is a love story of two true lovers. I sympathize with Okeke because he has to live alone for eight years. I find that people suffer for nothing sometimes. They have certain values and they consider that they should stick to those values in spite of everything. Okeke also gives more priority to his values than he does to his son’s happiness. Okeke is angry with his son because he thinks that it is his right to find a life partner for his son. Okeke is, particularly, angry because his son has defied the tradition of the village. In Okeke’s village, inter-tribal marriages are not acceptable. So, he wants his son not to marry a girl from another tribe. It is a very interesting thing for me because I find such a situation occurring frequently even in our society, which is also in a transitional period. The story, in fact, reminded me of the problem of my own society.

Related Posts

Post a Comment