In Civil Peace, how do Jonathan and his family behave after their money is stolen?

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The short story "Civil Peace" by Chinua Achebe tells of Jonathan Iwegbu, his wife, and their three children as they struggle to survive after the Nigerian Civil War. Most stories that deal with the aftermath of wars tend to be tragic. However, that is not the case with Achebe's tale, which is relentlessly optimistic. Despite everything that has happened, Jonathan sees the positive side of the situation and states, "Nothing puzzles God." In other words, God can solve any problem.

First of all, one of their children has died, but Jonathan rejoices because he still has three of them left, and also his wife. When Jonathan sees his broken down little house, he rejoices that it is still there and quickly hires a carpenter to patch it up with scraps. He manages to save his bicycle from being stolen by burying it. When he digs it up, he uses it to create a taxi service to earn money. With the money he earns from the taxi service, he buys palm wine and opens a bar. In the meantime, his children pick and sell mangoes, and his wife cooks and sells food. They all keep busy and do the best they can.

Their biggest windfall comes when Jonathan receives an award of cash for rebel money that he turns in. However, that night a violent gang of thieves comes and threatens Jonathan and his family until he gives them all of the money he received at the office. His family, of course, is terrified during the encounter with the thieves.

The morning after the thieves steal all of Jonathan's money, though, he and his family carry on as if nothing has happened. Jonathan prepares his bicycle to go get more palm wine. His wife cooks food to sell, and his son rinses out bottles to use for the bar. In other words, they do not let the theft of their money disrupt their lives. Jonathan says, "I count it as nothing," when his neighbors assemble to sympathize with him. The money was an extra gift that came to him and now it is gone, but life goes on regardless. He closes by once again saying, "Nothing puzzles God." In other words, in his opinion, God is still in control, and he can still deal with problems such as this.

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Having rebuilt a life for his family following the conclusion of the civil war in Nigeria, Jonathan takes a very matter-of-fact approach to the theft of his money. It would appear that it is a small sacrifice to him when compared to the safety of his family.

He rationalizes that since he did not have this money the week before, he can certainly survive without it in the week to follow. Having suffered through the war, losing a child along the way, and witnessing the vast losses suffered by his fellow Nigerians during the conflict, he is able to put what he sees as a small personal loss into perspective with relative ease.

With their faith firmly in Providence, Jonathan and his family look to the future, rather than to the past with all its losses.

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After their money is stolen, Jonathan and his family continue with their lives without further thought or reference to the incident. The neighbors gather to commiserate with the family over their bad luck, but Jonathan confesses to his neighbors that he counts the loss as inconsequential. The whole family's philosophy on life is centered on their faith in the care of Providence; their attention is solely focused on the present and how they can better their current situation.

The day after the robbery, Jonathan prepares to continue with his palm-wine bar business while his wife busies herself frying the breakfast akara balls she is to sell to neighbors. Meanwhile, their son washes out the dregs of the previous day's palm wine from old beer bottles. Jonathan tells his neighbors that they hadn't planned on the egg-rasher money before and they will not depend on it now. He reasons that the loss of the egg-rasher money is not more important than other things that were lost during the civil war.

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