- Okeke: Father of Nnaemeka who is from the Ibo tribe.
- Nnaemeka: Son of Okeke who loves Nene.
- Nene: Nnaemeka’s beloved and is from another below tribe than Nnaemeka
- Ugoye Nweke: A girl who has been selected by Okeke for his son (Nnaemeka)
- Jacob Nweke: Ugoye’s father.
- Madubogwu: A highly practical man of the village.
- Two grandsons of Okeke.
Marriage is a Private Affair summary | Four Level
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Chinua Achebe has written this story “Marriage is a Private Affair”, which deals with love and marriage between Nene and Nnaemeka where Nnaemeka is from the Ibo tribe and Nene is from another below tribe.
In one afternoon, when she sat with Nnaemeka in her room at 16 Kasanga Street, Lagos; She told him to send the message to his father about their relationship but he refused it because he knows that his father would certainly become angry because in his tribe such decisions were made by the parents. He planned to tell his father when he went home on leave. But he didn`t tell Nene that his father Okeke has already chosen the girl named Ugoye ( daughter of Jacob) for him. When Nnaemeka went home, he told his father about the relationship with Nene. He also told him that he could not marry Ugoye. Okeke becomes very angry because in his rituals girls should be kept quiet but, Nene is a good teacher.
When he should keep quiet which is more dangerous than his angry speech. Okeke did not speak with his son after ordering him to go away from home and gave up as a last. When Nnaemeka went to Lagos several neighbors came to Okeke including Madubogwu and suggested checking his son with a witch doctor but Okeke denied that idea. Once when Nnameka had sent their wedding picture to his father, he returned it by damaging the picture of Nene. Nene became very angry when she saw it but Nnaemeka persuades her by saying one day his father will understand them. Both of them continue their happy married life. All their neighbors of the Ilbo tribe knew that but Okeke didn`t want to listen to anything about them. Within this time Nene gave birth to two sons.
Once Nene wrote a letter including that his grandson was eager to see you (grandfather). She told his grandson that his grandfather doesn`t hate him. She requested him to allow grandson to visit him by assuring that she does not come when Nnaemeka comes with them. The idea that his grandsons wanted to see him melted his heart with pity. Then, he realized that he is fighting a losing battle and repents for his own mistake. He couldn`t shut the door for the grandson and frightened himself with a fear that he would die before seeing his grandchildren. He couldn`t sleep that night.
The story shows that there is a vast difference between the pattern of the old generation and the new generation regarding marriage. The writer wants to say that marriage is a private affair. A parent should not interfere when boys and girls both are ready for marriage. They should play a supportive role in such a case. It is a good idea to follows our culture, tradition but it is not good to follow it blindly at the expense of happiness and joy. We should remove our such culture and tradition. In marriage, boys and girls should feel happiness and joy, not stress. In fact, Marriage is a private affair.
To some extent, I completely agree with the writer because he shows marriage as a private affair between the boy and the girl. Married life becomes a terrible one if the parties can not realize joy and happiness. Still some ideas of the author are unconvincing:
Is it a good idea to avoid the wish of parents totally?, Can’t we see joy and happiness in an arranged marriage?, Can a private marriage always create happiness? there some such circumstances that compel the married couples to divorce. Some of the teenagers are attracted to sexual relationships in the beginning but when they know the reality they may repent. For this elderly person`s suggestion is necessary. Teenage is the age of stress and Strom. They don`t think about the future. Most teenagers think that marriage is a private affair and they elope away from home. Later on, they suffer. So, I can`t completely agree with the writer that marriage is a private affair.
When l read this story, I remembered my elder brother`s marriage. My elder brother Sanjay got married to a girl Sanjana, who wasn`t from our cast but she was well educated and rich. Sanjay fell in love with that girl and he got married to her. Sanjay`s Father didn`t allow them to go home. But, 1 year before, Sanjay got a son then his father himself went to Kathmandu and met his son, grandson, and daughter-in-law. He invited her to come home with his grandson during the Dashain festival. His heart melted with pity when he saw a smart grandson in Kathmandu. Sanjay told me that his father`s eyes become full of tears and rolled down his cheeks.
From this, I know that parents should be angry with their children for some days or some years when they get loved married because of blindly following his/her rituals, tradition, or social belief. But when they realized their mistake then they are more eager to visit his children`s family than his children (Son or daughter)