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Provide a summary of  "Civil Peace" by Chinua Achebe?

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lytoomi | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 16, 2010 at 8:45 AM via web

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Provide a summary of  "Civil Peace" by Chinua Achebe?

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 7, 2013 at 7:46 PM (Answer #1)

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The aftermath of the Nigerian Civil War, which took place from 1967-1970, serves as the historical background for the story “Civil Peace” by Chinua Achebe. Achebe believes that the African story must be told by an African writer.

The story introduces an heroic protagonist, Jonathan Iwegbu, whose optimistic attitude surprises the reader since his country and his family have just survived a terrible civil war.  Part of his good natured outlook stems from the survival of his family with the exception of one child. 

To add to his happiness, he found his old bicycle exactly where he had buried it. The bicycle was his means of family support. The bicycle serves as a taxi which allows Jonathan to make money.  Within two weeks, he made 150 pounds.

To add to his amazement, Jonathan journeys to Enugu to see if his home is still standing.  Expecting the worst, he discovers that it just has minor damage. But two doors down the houses had been destroyed.  Again, thank you God. After hiring a carpenter to repair the house, his family moves back in their home.

Jonathan’s enthusiasm carries over to his wife, who makes breakfast balls, and children, who pick mangos and sell them to make more money.  His entrepreneurial ability enables him to open a bar for soldier and anyone who had money.

The joy of life remains with Jonathan throughout the story. He is given back from the government money that he had given to them during the war.  That night he is awakened in the middle of the night by armed men.  They want his money because they believe that he is wealthy.

Using African diction, the men converse.  The leader has very poor English skills with an heavy African pronunciation. As the conversation continues, the thief leader uses several kinds of intimidation to convince Jonathan of the necessity of giving him the money.

The leader believes that Jonathan has one hundred pounds:

To God who made me; if you come inside and find one hundred pounds, take it and shoot me and shoot my wife and children. I swear to God.  The only money I have in this life is this twenty-pounds egg-rasher they gave me today…

Jonathan gives the man the money, and he is gone.

In the morning, Jonathan wakes up his family to begin the day again.  All of them are busy and ready to move forward with their lives. Jonathan believes that the money was unnecessary, and life will go on. Jonathan’s mantra for life is “Nothing puzzles God.”  

 

 

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saharm | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted November 24, 2010 at 6:01 PM (Answer #2)

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this story is about an optimist man called happy survival. he and his wife and his three children out of four survived from the war. his bicycle and his house weresaved too. he founds way to earn money and pass his life. his family also found job like selling mangoes or making breakfast to earn money. by the bicycle he went to villages and bought wine and mixed it with water and soldit to military soldiers. by this job he opened a bar and soldwine instead of going to miner. at that time most neighbours were so poor and had nothing to eat or no where to sleep.one day he earned20 pounds as an egg-rasher.the other person who had that much money were killed by thieves. he was so scared and felt insecure tillwenthome. at night's he heard different noises and understood the watchman left sooner than ever by one o'clock then he slept. he was awakened by noise of the knocking in the door. he and his family after some time understood theywere thieves and they called police but no one came to help them and the thieves were the neighbours.they wanted his money and he and his familywere so scared. at lastafter a long argue he accepted to give them 20 pounds instead of 100 pounds they want.and he was happy again because he could live safe without that money.

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