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“Marriage Is a Private Affair” by Chinua Achebe 1952 Story Summary, Characters, Synopsis & Moral

The great Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe's short story “Marriage Is a Private Affair” was written in 1952 and it talks about the conflict between a father and the son who wants to marry a girl belonged to different community. 

The characters involved in this short story are

1) Nnaemeka - Protagonist

2) Nene - Nnameka's lover

3) Okeke - Nnameka's father

4) Ugoye - suitor for Nnameka

1) Nnaemeka - As I said before Nnaemeka is the protagonist of this short story. He is young and educated. Nnaemeka is now employed in the city of Lagos. There he fall in love with a beautiful, and educated girl named Nene.

2) Nene Atang - Nene Atang is the lover of Nnaemeka. She is a school teacher, modern, young and beautiful girl, who lives in the city of Lagos.

Nnaemeka and Nene wants to get married. Both Nnaemeka and Nene are Christians but the problem is Nnaemeka belonged to Ibo tribe of Africa whereas Nene belonged to different tribe. The Ibo tribe of Africa has their own set of rules to be followed. Especially the Inter-tribe marriage is strictly forbidden in their tribes.  According to their culture, the son of the Ibo tribe has to marry the girl of their own tribe arranged by his father. If the arrangement is done by the father then it will be accepted by all the members of that community.

What do you think,

Will Nnaemeka and Nene get marry? Will their parents accept the young couple's proposal?

Keep guessing, let us see what happens in the outline summary of this short story, "The Marriage is a Private Affair".

Scene 1

A room at 16 Kasanga Street in the city of Lagos.

One afternoon, Nene urges her lover Nnaemeka to write a letter inorder to inform about their relationship to Nnaemeka's father Okeke. To which Nnaemeka replies that it would not be wise to convey about their relationship by just writing a letter. If he writes a letter, then it would make his father gets angry and creates a tension in the family hence Nnaemeka plans cleverly to convey his father Okeke when he gets home on leave.

Scene 2

Nnaemeka's home in the city of Lagos

After coming to his home, Nnaemeka receives a letter from his father Okeke. The letter says that Nnaemeka's father Okeke had found a girl named Ugoye for Nnaemeka to marry. Ugoye Nweke is a girl choosen by Okeke for Nnaemeka. She is the eldest daughter of their neighbour Jacob Nweke. Nnaemeka already knows about Ugoye, who is a stupid girl and a Christian belongs to Ibo tribe. She stopped her schooling and her father had sent her to pastor where she got training to read Bible fluently and also to be a good wife. After reading the letter, immediately on the second day, Nnaemeka goes from the city of Lagos to his village in Nigeria inorder to see his father.

Scene 3

Village in Nigeria

When Nnaemeka went home and told his father that he could not marry a girl named Ugoye, who is a suitor chosen by his father Okeke. Nnaemeka also tells his father that he is already engaged to marry a girl named Nene. But

Nnaemeka’s father Okeke does not allow his son to marry Nene who belonged to another tribe. Hence Nnaemeka starts describing the good qualities of his lover Nene who is a also a christian and a teacher.

Okeke tried to persuade his son Nnaemeka not to marry Nene. But when Okeke is sure that his son would not obey him, he stops speaking to his son after ordering him to go away from his home. When his son Nnaemeka went to Lagos, the neighbors comes to Okeke to give sympathy about his son’s  behavior. Different old people and gentlemen named Madubogwu and Jonathan suggested Okeke to take his son to witch doctor.

The superstitious neighbours ask Okeke to treat his son with a medicine named Amalile. Ibo tribe people believes that the medicine Amalile would help the wifes in regaining their affection of their unfaithful husbands. But Okeke denied all these stupid ideas and says that he doesn't want to be an another Mrs.Ochuba. Mrs.Ochuba is a widow belongs to Ibo tribe who had given the medicine Amalile to her husband inorder to seek his attention but as the result her husband.

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