“Marriage is a Private Affair”
By Chinua Achebe
The Chinua Achebe theme can be echoed around the world. Religious customs can practice the ritual of prearranged marriages, like the wedding that Emeka’s father had planned for him in a letter written to his son. It can also incite cultural differences towards other tribes or clans. Nene wasn’t an Ibo, so in Emeka’s fathers view; she was from the wrong side of town.
For eight years Emeka’s father disowned his son, believing he was in the grips of Satan. Age wearing him down and a letter he’d received from Nene informing him of two grandsons, he agonized over the guilt of closing the door on them. It seemed the old man might choose to have a relationship with the children and do what many grandparents who want to go to heaven do; spoil the grandkids and not uphold them to the same set of standards they held their own children to.
In conclusion, I feel the theme of this story’s main focus is on marriage, religion and family tradition. Emeka’s father was too focused on religion and time honored tradition to understand his son’s feelings or the consequences of having grandchildren that he would might never know. In my opinion, Achebe teaches us to realize that love can conquer all and in the end prevail over outside religious influences. We also learn that religious beliefs are better served when married couples compromise on them at a personal level.