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Marriage is the most important institution of human society as it serves as the backbone of human civilization. It is defined as two people pledging themselves to each other as husband or wife without legal sanction. Marriages create new relationships, develop social statues, and merge wealth. The purpose of marriage varies per marriage, as some are for love and others are for wealth and social status. Within Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice and Chinua Achebe’s “Marriage is a Private Affair”, there are contrasting views concerning marriage. In Pride and Prejudice, marriage is approached as a task rather than a privilege of love. Characters like Mrs.Bennet and Charlotte view marriage economically and socially, while Elizabeth believes in love at first sight. “Marriage is a Private Affair” develops the similar theme of marriage being a responsibility. In both of these literary works, marriage is discussed with little consideration for love and focuses mainly on the social and economic impact. Though in both stories characters who believe in marriage for love exist, the social norms revolve around marriage as an obligation. A theme highlighted within both is that parents greatly influence their child’s choice on who they marry without listening to their children’s opinion. For example, Okeke chose a bride for Nnaemeka and expected Nnaemeka to marry her without any objection. Thus when Nnaemeka completely rejected his father’s proposal, his father refused to speak to his son for several years. Alike, Elizabeth’s mother avoided Elizabeth after she denied Mr.Collins request for marriage. The effect of marriage on social status and wealth completely overrules the aspect of love in marriage.
Though the overall purpose of marriage was similar, the specific reasons varied from culture to culture. In Pride and Prejudice, the main purpose is to marry for wealth and social status, while in “Marriage is a Private Affair”, the reason for marriage is based on religion and tribe. In Pride and Prejudice, Mrs.Bennet is insistent on having her daughters married to a well-established wealthy man, so each daughter could support one another. For example, Mrs.Bennet extensively tried to have Jane marry Mr.Bingley due to his huge fortune and large estate. Throughout “Marriage is a Private Affair”, Okeke stresses for his son to marry a wife with good character and proper Christian background. Okeke does not worry about the financial situation of the girl, rather religion plays the largest impact on marriage. Furthermore, in Pride and Prejudice, the parent’s influence on their children’s choices is very minimal as the children often get to meet and attract their suitors. Also, the children often have an option to choose their suitor as long as the suitor meets the financial and social expectations of the parents, as Jane was allowed to meet with Mr.Bingley. On the other hand, in “Marriage is a Private Affair”, parents have a larger impact on the outcome of the marriage and directly choose the bride or groom like Ukeke did with Nnaemeka. In general, marriage was seen as a responsibility in both literary pieces, however, the purpose differed as religion was important in tribes and wealth was important in nineteenth-century England.

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