“Marriage Is A Private Affair ” Question and Answers. A Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe wrote the story “Marriage is a Private Affair”. Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. He attended the University of Ibadan. In 1958, his pioneering novel “Things Fall Apart” was published. It went on to sell more than 12 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages. Achebe later served as the David and Mariana Fisher University professor and professor of African Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He died on March 21, 2013, at age 82, in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Marriage Is A Private Affair – Question And Answers:
Question No. 1: Okeke draws on Christianity to boost opposition to his son’s marriage to Nene. In your view, does Okeke act in accordance with Christ’s teachings? Can you cite any passage from the Bible which may support your interpretation? (आफ्नो छोराको नेने सँगको विवाहलाई अस्वीकार गरेको सही ठहर्याउन ओकिकि क्रिश्चियन धर्मको आधार लिन्छ। ओकिकिले क्राइष्टको शिक्षा अनुसार नै काम गरेको तपाई ठान्नुहुन्छ? तपाईको व्याख्यालाई समर्थन गर्ने बाईबलको कुनै खण्ड ल्याउन सक्नुहुन्छ?)
Answer: Okeke draws on Christianity to boost his opposition to his son’s marriage to Nene. In my view Okeke does not act in accordance with Christ’s teachings. Jesus Christ always taught to love and serve each other. In Christianity, Jesus Christ does not discriminate the people. He sets the example of sacrifice and welfare. In Christianity all are the generations of the god. In this story, Okeke does not seem to show love and sympathy to his son and his wife. In Christianity even animals are treated equally. For example; Nova’s boat saves good people and creatures. In the Bible we find example that Christ helped outcastes (non-Jews and women) many times equally as other people. The essence of Christ’s teaching meant that loving and serving the outcast is one of the human duties. For Okeke, Nene was an outcaste but not the sake of the Christianity, Christ’s teachings are different from his belief. Here is a short extract from the Bible: If any of your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there he will bring you back: (WEB ASV NAS RSV) – Bible 30:4
Question No. 2: In your opinion, is marriage among tribal people in Nigeria a private affair? (तपाईको विचारमा नाइजेरियाका जातीय समूहमा विवाह व्यक्तिगत विषयको रुपमा छ होला?)
Answer: Even today, we can find strict religious rules and laws that no one can violet. If anybody tries to go against religion they can have even death sentence. But most countries where there is a liberal system of religious belief can take some affairs like marriage their private choice; but not all the people. After reading this story we can say that the concept of marriage has been changing from generation to generation. The old generation tries to maintain it as a social and family concern but young generation tries to make it a private matter. They like the marriage as their wish. In the story, Nene got the point that Nnaemeka’s father is angry with him when he knows about his son’s engagement with her. In his society the senior family members determine the marriage of the juniors. Okeke later on, learns that the girl is from another tribe; he gets angry and gives up his son also. After their marriage, Nnaemeka’s villagers who work in Lagos consider that his wife is from another tribe. Okeke later when he comes to know about his grandsons and their desire to visit him he accepts their marriage. But they cannot agree with each other so we can say that marriage in Nigeria is not a private affair. Because the end of the story does not give a clear account of Okeke’s son, daughter-in-law and grandsons visit him or not. Okeke is found suffering between a duality of religious faith and love of the children.
Question No. 3: Would you say that the marriage in Nepal is a private affair? (तपाईको देश नेपालमा विवाहलाई व्यक्तिगत विषयको रुपमा लिइन्छ भनेर भन्न सक्नुहुन्छ?)
Answer: Nepal is a country known as for religious, cultural, linguistics variety. Though here are many types or kinds of people that follow different religious, cultures and festivals, they never quarrel each other. On the other hand, majority of Nepalese are Hindus. In Hinduism, there is no hard and fast rule or system of death penalty like in other religions for violating a rule of religion. People are conscious about. Though we can find some incidents based on caste, race, religion, sex, etc., they are limited by some illiterate or bad minded persons only. In general Nepal is very liberal except some castes. It consists of different kind of societies. In all societies, arranged marriage is supposed to be better in comparison to other types of marriage. Now days, love marriage also takes place, yet some people criticize it. Generally, there are many types of marriage in practice in Nepal. Arranged marriage and love marriage, brides or grooms do not take responsibilities for marriages. Their senior members of the family take responsibility for their marriage. They also want to know their families economic or social background. After finding everything proper and satisfactory, they fix their marriage. When everything is fixed, they fix for engagement and marriage finally. Then after on the fixed day their marriage takes place. Marriage is performed with rituals activities. The priest completes the marriage. Finally, bride goes to groom’s house and stays there forever except in some tribes. These days, modern boys and girls try to take marriage as a private affair but still arranged marriage is most practiced in Nepal.
Question No. 4: Try to predict your parent’s response if one day you announced your plan to marry someone from a different caste, tribe, or nationality. (यदि तपाईले एकदिन एउटा छुट्टै समुह वा रास्ट्रियता भएको व्यक्ति सँग विवाह गर्ने योजना बनाएको कुरा सुनाउनु भयो भने तपाईको बुबा-आमाको प्रतिक्रिया कस्तो होला?)
Answer: Situation has changed. There is nothing so strict and unchangeable in today’s world. As a member of the Brahmin family, I have to do an arranged marriage. My guardians will arrange it but as an educated person of this 21st century I have freedom for a live marriage with any girl of any caste. My family is a literate one, therefore there is no strict rule for marriage. All my relatives and neighbors also are aware of changed world. Therefore, after completing my education, I will marry a girl, who studies in my own campus. I have fallen in love with her whatever her caste or religion she may belong to. I have decided to marry her anyhow because she is fit for me. Though, is I tell my plan to marry someone from a different caste, tribe or nationality, my parents would not believe at first. They would just take it lightly thinking that I was joking. But I would assure them that it is my private affair to choose my life-partner and I will always respect parents’ self-dignity. Then my parents would believe me and accept it.
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Question No. 5: What do you think: If two people from two different linguistic groups, or religion, or tribes or nationalities, or castes, fall in love, should they marry, even if their families are opposed? ( यदि दुई अलग भाषा समूहका मानिसहरु त्यो पनि परिवारले मन नापराउँदाको अवस्थामा प्रेममा परे भने तिनीहरुले विवाह गर्नुपर्छ जस्तो लाग्छ?)
Answer: I live in Nepal; Nepal is a multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi-religious country. As here live different people of different caste, creed, religion, etc, their culture and festivals also differ greatly. When two people from different background get married, they have to face a lot of problems if they are not practical enough. The man or the woman from the different backgrounds is considered as unsuitable partner. Other members of the group feel uncomfortable to accept a member. People live together in community because of the same culture, language and tradition too. Marriage between the same communities is comfortable for all. She or he should have similar culture, language and tradition which the community accepts.
If the marriage partners have the different language and cultural backgrounds, they are not thought to be matching. Marriage partners from different backgrounds may face the economic or social problems. In an arranged marriage, we do not have to face such problems because they are already solved. If people fall in love between boy and girl from different culture, they have to solve the things practically. They can get married being practical. Therefore, I think that we can get married within the same background. But, today there is no such strict ban for love marriage in Nepal. Though some families may dislike it, they accept with the knowledge of national and international scenario.
Question No. 6: In one long paragraph, summaries the basic plot of Achebe’s story. (एचिबिको कथाको एउटा लामो अनुच्छेदमा सारसंक्षेप लेख्नुहोस्?)
Answer: Nnaemeka is from a remote Nigerian Village who is engaged to marry Nene a girl from different tribe. Nnaemeka is from Ibo culture in which marriages are usually arranged by seniors and family members. Nene is from another community. It can be shocking new to Nnaemeka’s father, Okeke. The father tries to convince his son not to marry her and suggests marrying with a girl of his choice. When his son determines to marry her, he breaks his relationship with his son. In the begining, they are abandoned by the community but later people come to know that they are a happy couple. The father does not care it. At last, the father realizes that he lost his battle. He also knows that he has two grandsons who do not know him but they want to meet him. He unconsciously regrets and understands that he cannot lose them. He is deeply worried for his son, grandsons and daughter-in-law but it is not clear either he called them or not.
Question No. 7: “Marriage is a private affair” revolves around the conflict between Nnaemeka and his father: (यो कथा नेमेका र उसको बुबाको द्वन्द्वको वरिपरि घुम्दछ):
(a) Please describe this conflict.
Answer: Nnaemeka’s father has fixed a girl for his son. But, Nnaemeka has chosen Nene to marry her who is from another tribe and a Christian teacher also; therefore she is rejected by his father. This is the main reason of their misunderstanding that causes conflict between them.
(b) Explain the reasons for this conflict.
Answer: Nnaemeka belongs to an Ibo community but his wife belongs to the other different tribe. His father chooses girl from his own tribe. But Nnaemeka rejects the girl and determines to marry Nene. He thinks that one tribe is not important and thinks that one should marry a girl whom he likes. So, conflict takes place. Therefore, the main reason of their conflict is their social or tribal belief about marriage.
(c) Is this conflict ever resolved?
Answer: According to the story, the conflict continues until the father tries to convince his son not to marry her. After that the father gives up the son. At last the story ends with the letter that the father reads about his two grandsons who want to meet him. It seems that he will love and contact the abandoned son’s family to resolve the conflict but it is not clear that either they will meet or not. Therefore, the conflict continues until the end of the story. Even after the end of the story we can say that only Nnaemeka’s father loves his grandsons but is not clear either he accepts Nene or not. If he accepts Nene, it may create a social conflict between his family and his tribal society.
(d) Relate a similar conflict from your own life with your friend, child, or parent. Please, consciously model your style after that of Achebe’s. (आफ्नै, आफ्नो साथीको वा अरु कुनै बुबा छोराको यस्तै द्वन्द्व सचेतता पूर्वक अचिबी कै तरिकामा लेख्नुहोस्।)
Answer: We can find such many incidents in our society also. Such conflicts take place frequently in our societies also. It happened to my own family. My sister Namita eloped with a boy who is from outside. My father got angry and announced that he wouldn’t let them to come to our home. Later, they tried to meet us but due to my father’s discouraging words they did not come. After all, our relation was cut. Now they are away from us. Due to only different community, we are separated. But I just knew that they have a very good family, they are happy and have a daughter. When I said my father about it, he also has changed his mind. Perhaps we call them back soon.
Question No. 11: Short story writers sometimes are just relating a good tale. But sometimes they may be trying to teach us a lesson, convince us of a belief they hold, or make us see things their way. So, to understand literature, we must move beyond the literal meaning: (छोटा कथा लेखकहरु कहिलेकाहीँ राम्रा पुराना कथा सँग मेल खाने गरी लेख्छन् तर कहिलेकाहीँ हामीलाई शिक्षा दिन, उनीहरुकै विचारमा सहमत गराउन अथवा उनीहरुकै दृष्टिले हेर्न लगाउन कोसिस गर्छन्। त्यसैले, साहित्यलाई बुझ्न हामीले सीधा र सोझो अर्थ भन्दा पर पनि पुग्नु पर्छ।)
(a) State what, in your opinion, are the point Achebe is trying to make?
(b) Explain your reasons for believing that these are the points he is trying to make.
(c) Support your argument with illustrations from the story itself.
Answers: In this story, Okeke, father of Nnaemeka is a conservative and prejudiced man of an Ibo tribe in Nigeria who does not want to hear in the beginning that his son has decided to marry a girl himself. Okeke is of the strong opinion that the father should have the rights to arrange his son’s marriage. But Nnaemeka marries a girl opposing to his father’s choice. In the beginning, the father is angry and declares that he cut off the relationship with his son but finally he becomes very much interested to his son with his wife and grandsons. Achebe also wants to state that marriageable boys and girls should have the rights to choose their partners. Time passes by. Nene gives birth to two children. One she writes to the old man that the children would like to see their grandfather.
According to the reading of the story, Achebe is trying to make the points that traditional people also can be changed, and realize their mistakes. It also makes point that no one can stop the changes in society. Okeke refused to accept Nene as his family member because she was from different tribe. But later he got a letter from Nene, he unconsciously accepted his two grandsons. He changed his strong decision and himself. Nnaemeka and Nene got married and lived a very happy life. This shows that change is not so easy but inevitable. We should accept the changing things of time. Only tribal, religious and cultural beliefs are not important; we should change them also according to time and situation.
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