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Marriage is Private Affair – Four Levels of Interactions | Flax-Golden Tales
Marriage is Private Affair – Chinua Achebe, Nigeria (1930)
While living in Logos, Nnaemeks is engaged to marry Nene a cosmopolitan girl of another tribe. She is a teacher. But on the other hand, his father has already chosen a girl called Uggye Neweke from the same tribe. So the boy goes home one day and tells his father about his aim. But his father doesn’t accept his son’s choice because it is not arranged by himself and she is not from the same tribe. Moreover, she is a teacher.
His father tries to persuade him no to marry her but Nnaemeka has determined to marry Nene. So is father becomes unhappy and decides to forget his son forever. Even the villagers don’t like this marriage. After marriage their life becomes pleasant. Gradually, society accepts them. At the end, when Okeks receives three letter from his daughter in law saying that his two grandsons are interested to meet their grandfather, he is filled with remorse (regret) and love.
Achebe is trying to show us the struggle against the old traditions of the tribal people living in Nigeria. He is also showing that marriage can be a private affair for young educated people. The story also shows that if we are superstitious and narrow-minded, it brings us tensions and problems. Okeke got eight years long tensions separating from his son. So the story clearly indicates that misunderstanding, conflict, and sadness are the results of narrow-mindedness. The writer is also trying to show that marriage is possible even between a boy and a girl who are from different caste, tribe, and religion.
Although the story is interesting to read, there are still some points in the story with which I don’t agree. Nnaemeka’s father said that no Christian woman should teach. In which religion is woman teacher banned to teach? The writer shows that marriage is a private affair and only love marriage is best. It means, has arranged marriage ever become sad? Nnaemeka neglected his father’s advice of marring Uggye Neweke from the same tribe. Is it good to neglect fathers’ advice? After Nnaemeka got married to Nene, Okeke forgot his son for eight years. How can a father reject his son for eight years due to a misunderstanding of marriage? I think parents are much more experienced than children and they do everything for the children’s welfare. If it is so, it is reasonable to give up Nnaemeka when he decides to marry Nene.
After reading this story, I remembered the story of my friend, Harry Gautam. As he completed B.Sc., he started to teach in private English medium school in Tikapur, Kailali. He was teaching as well as preparing the exam of Lok Sewa Aayog. He was progressing day by day. Sarita Pariyar was also teaching in the same school. Harry and Sarita both fell in love and decided to marry. When Harry went home to visit his parents for permission, his parents directly rejected Harry’s request for marriage. His father said that he had died for him.
He furiously scolded to Harry and told that there was no any space for Harry at home. So Harry returned to Tikapur and married to Sarita. Their life was really happy after marriage. Harry published his name in the examination of Lok Sewa Aayog and was posted in Kathmandu. He took his wife, Sarita, to Kathmandu together with him. But Harry’s parents neither phoned nor visited them for 5 years. Sarita gave birth to the son. One day, Harry’s father phoned to Harry and requested to go home with his wife and son. He also rejected on the telephone. Then Harry returned to his home with his wife and son. All the family members were so happy getting a chance to visit one another after five years.
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