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Marriage Is A Private Affair Essay, Research Paper

Marriage is a Private Affair

In China Achebe?s ?Marriage Is a Private Affair?, the discrepant values of Namesake and his father dictate their fates. However, this assumption rests on the premise that fate is a transient and alterable condition. Originally, Okeke?s steadfast Christian beliefs and commitment to tradition prompt a fissure between father and son. However, as Ocher begins to reconsider his integrity he also unintentionally dictates his future. Familial obligations are rescinded in place of individual integrity. Achebe says of Namesake. In this instance, Ocher and Nneameka?s disparate values determine not only their own fates, but the fate?s of their family as well.

Both individuals dogmatic philosophies negate any compromise which would encourage a resolution. While Namesake and Okene are in agreement that his wife should have a Christian background, Okene takes great offense to Neon?s teaching. Okene?s refusal to yield or concede anything to Namesake has an effect which permeates all his future actions. Likewise, Nnaemeka?s less literal translation of the Bible allows him to marry Nene and abide by a set of standards which set his future at odds with Ocher. Namesake realizes this before he even confronts his father about the marriage, which explains his hesitancy and apprehension to inform Ocher in the beginning of the story.

His first option, Ugoye Nweke, appeals to Ocher?s sense of an ideal wife. When Namesake tries to justify his reasons for not marrying Ogee, he says, ?Marriage today is different?(376). Namesake tries to appeal to his father through reason and persistance, neglecting any personal sacrifice to appease Ocher. Likewise, Ocher embraces tradition to such a degree that he neglects his family.

The crux of their disagreement revolves around the emphasis placed on tradition. Ocher values Ibo tradition to such a degree that he negates his familial ties in order to retain a pure, untainted sense of integrity. However, unlike many cultures, for Ibos, a sense of character does not always correlate to benevolance. Although tradition dictates Namesake and Okeke?s integrates, it does not alter their essence. However, Nnameka?s unique character has an effect which is calculated and tactical. Tradition is an aspect of Ibo life which transcends all other obligations. Therefore, tradition, or in Nnaemka?s case, the rejection of tradition, has a profound and effect on one?s future.

Unlike many cultures, Ibo?s value tradition so valiantly that their moral standards are less malleable than others. Nnaemeka?s decison to mary Nene was made with a specific intent. Namesake chose to marry Nene and repudiate the Ibo values which dictate his father?s existence. Because Ocher is so dogmatic, this decison was not made without regard to its consequences or Okeke?s raection. Until the end of the story, Ocher revels in a sense of pride and tradition which castigates everything Namesake has done.


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