What is the significance of the title of Achebe's "Civil Peace"?

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The title of Chinua Achebe’s short story “Civil Peace” is especially interesting because it is used in an ironic sense. The story follows Jonathan Iwegbu as he collects the fragments of his life after the end of the Nigerian Civil War. The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War, was a protracted conflict that resulted because a section of Nigeria attempted to secede and form its own country. The war leaves a tremendous amount of destruction in its wake, and Jonathan gathers up what he can to reestablish his life. The title of the story is ironic because even though the war has come to an end, the area is still chaotic and filled with strife. Indeed, a gang of robbers use the term “civil peace” when they rob Iwegbu and his family in the dead of night:

“Awrighto. Now make we talk business. We no be bad tief. We no like for make trouble. Trouble done finish. War done finish and all the katakata wey de for inside. No Civil War again. This time na Civil Peace. No be so?” (87).

Thus, Achebe uses the title ironically to highlight the violence still present in a post-war Nigeria.

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