Civil Peace Questions and Answers
by Chinua Achebe

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In “Civil Peace,” what does Jonathan appear to value most?

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Jonathan appears to value most the things given to him, as an individual, by God.  He has lived through the war and considers himself lucky to have come out of it with "five inestimable blessings" - his life and the lives of his wife and three of his four children.  He has been given a bonus as well - a bicycle, which is priceless in value because it enables him to make a living ferrying camp officials from place to place.  He also considers himself fortunate because his simple house, the work of his hands, still stands, while huge concrete edifices have been reduced to rubble. Jonathan is excited when he receives help from the government, in the form of twenty pounds cash in return for rebel money he has turned in, yet the joy from the windfall is fleeting, and that very night his family is terrorized and the money extorted.  Jonathan is unfazed by the loss of his "egg-rasher", however.  The things that wars and governments give and take away he "count(s)... as nothing"; it is only those things God gives that are important.  Jonathan values his life, his health, the lives of his family, and the ability to work.  These things are God-given, and "nothing puzzles God".

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