Marriage is a private affair


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Book Report, 3rd year high school

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Marriage is a private affair

  1. 1. Book Report “Marriage Is A Private Affair” By: Chinua Achebe English 3 Shaina Mavreen D. Villaroza III – Sodium Submitted to: Mrs. May Flor M. Zaldivar Subject Teacher
  2. 2. Marriage Is A Private Affair This short story was written by Chinua Achebe is about generational and cultural conflict. Chinua Achebe is a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He was raised by Christian parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria. Even as a university student, he began writing stories about world religions and traditional African cultures. After he graduated, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory. The subject of the story Marriage Is A Private Affair is a marriage that occurs against the parent’s wishes. This easily happens when their culture is to marry a girl with proper Christian upbringing. Their culture depends on their place. The story happened in a place somewhere in Lagos. This place existed in real life and it is also where Achebe worked for some time. Achebe might have known well of their culture and because of his fascination to religion and culture, he wrote a story depicting a situation about how one feels about marrying against the will of the parent and also, how a parent feels when his child marries a different girl. Because the story was narrated in the third person’s point of view, we can know the feelings of everyone’s side. We can know how much the child, Nnaemeka, wants to marry a girl whom he loves. We can know how much the father, Okeke, dislikes the girl his son wants to marry because she is a teacher. We can know how depressed the girl, Nene, whom Nnaemeka married because of Okeke’s disapproval and rejection to both of them, husband and wife. We can also know that in the end, Okeke can forgive and accept his son through his grandchildren. The setting of the story is in Lagos, a town located in Nigeria. In the story, the people who lived in the place, especially the elderly, were superstitious and were Christians in a way that they read but don’t thoroughly understand the bible. What
  3. 3. happened in the story is that Okeke didn’t want Nnaemeka to marry Nene because she is a teacher. Okeke literally believed in what he read in the bible that women should keep in silence and that Christian women should not teach. Nnaemeka still married Nene because it is her whom he loved. Nene was then treated differently by the townspeople because of the prejudice against their marriage but later on, she had friends. Nene was unhappy because Okeke didn’t accept them but she was hoping that a day would come when Okeke would look more kindly to their marriage. Nene sent Okeke a letter saying: “. . . Our two sons, from the day they learnt that they have a grandfather, have insisted on being taken to him. I find it impossible to tell them that you will not see them. I implore you to allow Nnaemeka to bring them home for a short time during his leave next month. I shall remain here in Lagos . . .”. One day it rained for the first time in that year, the wind was blowing, and there were lightning and thunder. Okeke thought of his grandchildren being out in the harsh weather and shut out of his house. That night, he could barely sleep because of his guilt and he was so anxious about making up to them. The third person’s point of view makes it easier to discuss the attitude of each character in the story. We cannot blame Nnaemeka for marrying against his father’s wish because we know that both Nene and he are truly in love with each other. We cannot blame the wish of Okeke for his son to marry a well-oriented Christian woman because that is their tradition. If the story was told in a different point of view, we might as well perceive in a different way what the author is trying to say. We hear much talk today about “traditional values” and about the “multicultural society.” A contemporary example of clashes in values is present and observable like Muslim and Christian marriage. If we base it on each side’s tradition, it is of course very hard to decide whether or not we keep the two from what they want-- marriage. In this story of Achebe, no matter what consequences, the bottom line is acceptance and forgiveness.