"Marriage Is A Private Affair" by Chinua Achebe. The teacher told us to write a short summary about the story and compare it to the world or our lives in some way.

Essay by drako_86College, UndergraduateA, December 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 33505 times

"Marriage Is A Private Affair" by Chinua Achebe is told in the third person point of view. It takes place somewhere in Nigeria. There are 3 main characters in this story and about 10 in all, however they are merely mentioned.

Nene Atang is the woman that Nnaemeka chose to marry. She's from Calabar, she's a good housewife, a teacher in an all female school and she has a good Christian background. She is engaged to Nnaemeka when the story begins. Nnaemeka is the son of a man who is a member of the Ibo tribe. Nnaemeka used to be in that tribe until he grew up and moved away from Ibibio land. Basically the story begins with Nene talking to Nnaemeka about telling his father that they are engaged to be married. Nnaemeka told Nnaemeka it's a bad idea to tell him because he wouldn't approve of Nene because she isn't an Ibo and his father had never met her.

Nene grew up in the city of Lagos, so she doesn't understand why traditions like arranged marriages and being a member of a tribe should matter in modern society. Nene told Nnaemeka that if his father loved him he would forgive him and learn to accept their marriage. Nene told Nnaemeka to just write him a letter telling him about their engagement instead of waiting 6 weeks for Nnaemeka's vacation to tell him when Nnaemeka would go to visit. Nnaemeka disagreed and waited. Before he went on vacation he thought about how he would sway his father into liking Nene. He also thought about the girl that his father had chosen for him; Ugoye Nweke, the daughter of Jacob, a neighbor of his back in Ibibio land. She was a tomboy who was dumb and used to beat up all the boys. She lived with a pastor and read the bible allot. When Nnaemeka went to visit his father he went with him to sit under his father's favorite tree, there they talked about Nene. Basically Nnaemeka said he didn't love Ugoye and his dad said no one expects you to love her. His dad said its tradition; if you break tradition then you are a disgracing your family. Nnaemeka told his father that Nene is a teacher and he said she was evil because the bible says women shouldn't teach. His dad didn't like people who encouraged woman to teach and go to school. After Nnaemeka left for home he and his dad rarely kept in contact anymore. They always hoped the other would change their mind about their decision. In his dads village Nnaemeka 's engagement becomes the talk of the town. People said it's a sign of the apocalypse; "sons shall rise against their fathers". They tell Nnaemeka 's dad to make his son to go to a witch doctor. His dad said Nnaemeka isn't sick and that he doesn't trust them because of things that have happened to people who go to them. 6 Months after this Nnaemeka and Nene get married; they send Nnaemeka's dad the wedding picture. They get it back with Nene cut out of the picture and a letter that said; I don't like what you've done, but I will have nothing to do with Nene and I wish I could have nothing to do. Nene read it and cried. Nnaemeka told her one day he will accept us, he doesn't mean to be mean he's just old fashioned. 8 years go by and his dad won't write back to him except for when Nnaemeka asks to go visit, he's always responded with a no. In the village where the women met; Nene was treated as an outsider, but through the years wore them down and made many friends. Most were a bit envious of her and her housekeeping skills. Most of the village had accepted them. Nnaemeka's father knew nothing about this because no one would speak to him about his son because they were afraid of what he'd say. One day he got a letter from Nene and reluctantly read it. It said that they had 2 boys who learned about his existence and wanted to visit him, but Nene and Nnaemeka didn't know what to say because of his reluctance to speak to his son and his family. She said she would send them in a month with Nnaemeka while she stays at home. At first he wanted to say no, but eventually because of a thunderstorm he begins to imagine the kids standing outside in the rain calling his name so he changes his mind. That's how the story ends.

Arranged marriages are something that is still going on in our time. They are something that I don't agree with. The marriage isn't about love, just the profit that each family can make by marrying their children to each other. People who are put together in these marriages usually have not even met before. They are just assigned to eachother from a young age. They spend the first years of their marriages just getting to know each other. The guy usually forces himself onto the woman, since in the countries that arrange such marriages; women are usually treated like property. The families of the children force their kids to go through with the marriages or else they are disowned and dishonor their families. They are then banned from family gatherings and out cast by society. I don't see why people don't just give up these traditions. I know of one person who decided to leave and not go though with an arranged marriage. She is From India she is the sister of my friend Ferhad. She left India to come live here with her brother and uncle. Her parents literally wanted to kill her because she left without telling them. They disowned her and won't speak to her. She doesn't care because now she's here and no one can tell her what to do because she has a job and pays half the rent. She is happy now. I don't understand why more people just don't leave their homes instead of being forced to marry.

Arranged marriages are something that will slowly fade away as time goes by. They will just be seen as a barbaric practice of the past. Until that day though, people will just have to leave their homes and break contact with their families or put up with it and let their lives be run by their families and tradition.