After selecting the topic getting married I used several pre-writing strategies including brain storming and free writing to develop and refine my thesis statement. First, I carried out an intensive brainstorm where I harnessed knowledge I had regarding the theme getting married and tried to link it to one central point. I had several angles from which to tackle the question but I had to carefully eliminate some of them based on the requirements of the essay. For instance, I could have had the thesis based on the important things that individuals for one to have in mind before getting married. I, however, discarded this idea because its outcome would have been a descriptive as opposed to narrative as had been pointed out in the instructions.
I settled on an event that happened in my past but which related to the topic at hand and tried to establish a method of presenting it such that it followed the instructions aside from having that unique presentation that makes an essay interesting to read. I decided that some elements of the essay would be narrated from a first person point of view while some will be presented in the actual words of the speaker. With this knowledge in mind, I got down to the actual writing of the thesis statement. I used the free writing approach to write a few sentences that described the idea I had in mind. My approach for the essay was to describe the modern-day reasons for getting married but from an interesting perspective. I already knew that the essay I was going to write would to some extent serve as a comparison between events in former years and today with relative linkage to the topic. Of the five statements I wrote, I used a process of elimination to identify the one that properly presented the exact idea that the narrative essay would be based on. The statement settled on was about seventy words long and even though it properly described the agenda of the essay, it had verbiage which needed to be cut down.
I edited the statement, sometimes cutting out whole phrases and replacing them with individual words of equivalent value. Once I was satisfied with what I had, I wrote the final statement and then went into the actual process of writing the essay.
Getting married is not something that people should rush into just to please the interest of other people.
So there we sat, watching television. A National Geographic documentary was on. I normally would not sit down and derive mindless entertainment from watching lions massacre a herd of buffaloes but this was no ordinary day. My grandparents had come visiting for the holidays and being the typical traditionalists that they were, I had to do their every bidding. If they wanted to watch a National Geographic documentary I had no option but to join them lest I pressed the wrong button and landed on one of the modern music channels; channels which don’t consider nudity unsuitable for underage viewers. Let it be known that though that I do not consider the mating rituals of lions suitable for public viewing either. My grandparents come from that generation of disciplinarians which holds it that, children should not speak unless spoken to, and so I could not pull myself to establish a conversation even as the silence was getting unbearable.
I stood up to leave the room when senior man in the room cleared his voice. This was his trademark announcement that he was ready to say something. Of course, I did not need to be told to sit down as it was clear that whatever he was going to say would most certainly be directed at me. “Young man how old are you?” he asked eyes fixed at me. “Seven, sir” I answered. An eerie silence punctuated the moment as I waited to see the direction that this conversation was taking.
“So, when are you getting married?” I almost chocked on saliva owing to the unexpected shock of his question. “Pardon , sir…” I managed to utter. “Are you deaf? I asked when –are- you- getting-married? ” I honestly had no answer for the question, but I could not fail to answer as this would have been seen as a sign of rudeness.
Up until then I had not had a girlfriend and I was not even contemplating getting one. Asking me about marriage was just humorous as I considered myself too young to assume any such responsibility yet. I mustered some courage and answered, “I am still in school sir and I do not have a job, so I am not sure I am getting married any time soon, sir.
” A thick vein suddenly shot up on the man’s face and his eyes turned dark red. My grandmother who was all the while seated quietly knitting had her eyes widen to assume a worried look. I could tell that the man was about to land some crackling slaps across my face-and so I waited for the pain in frightened anticipation. As he shot towards me, he had a change of mind and halted before his open hand could connect with my face.
His breathing slowed, the flare in his nostrils reduced as he eased back into his chair. My grandmother also relaxed. “Since when did school and employment have to do with getting married?” This was a rhetoric question; I did not answer. “I was three years younger than you are when I married your grandmother here”. “I had never stepped into a classroom and I still lived in my father’s house”.
“Did that stop me? No, my friend. I knew that responsibility is something that one learns with experience”. “Getting married turns you from a boy to a man.
It is the one thing that distinguishes you from your stupid peers and it is the one step in life that makes people respect you. “Look at your father, he married at fifteen and still continued with his education”; isn’t he successful in what he does? “He is, sir” I answered. “Ok, now you had better tell me when you are getting married before I give myself a heart attack trying to knock some sense into you”. I had to come up with a good reason for my failure to think about marriage and this had to come quick.
From the corner of my eye I could see my grandmother’s lips move in a soundless mumble. She must have been interceding for me to the gods because all of a sudden I felt a rush of adrenaline through my body and I sprang up, not knowing what I was about to say. “Getting married? Huh…” My courage surprised everyone in the room, myself included. “You want to know why I am not even thinking about getting married…I will tell you,” This was my eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with my grandfather-something I had always fantasized to do but had never gotten the opportunity. Besides, I was already in too far and backing off would just have been pointless.
“You come from a different generation, and so does my father. Generations that regarded women as nothing but slaves to do cook, clean, feed and bear children for you. You did not know what love was and getting married to you was just as easy as it was for the colonialists to take land from the weaker countries. All you had to do was point at any woman and she followed you home. ” “These are changing times, sir. We have realized that women are equals and that getting married is not something men do so that they can get personal slaves. No, we are beyond that kind of oppressive thinking. Nowadays men get married in order to have companions and partners with whom to share life’s tribulations”.
“Look and grandmother here, do you think she considers you a companion or just a master? Would she correct if she thought you were wrong? I don’t thing so”. “Now listen to me carefully sir, I am not getting married until I find someone that I am in love with, oh no am not. I am not getting married just to support an ancient underage marriage family tradition. No. I can assure you that that will never happen. I will get married when I want”. I am a wise man and I know that it is always advisable to quit while you are ahead.
Having made my point, and knowing the physical retaliation that was pending, I stormed out of the house before my grandfather could count to one. That was the last time I saw my grandfather.