Achebe's thesis, if it can be so simplified, is that Nigeria can find itself again if it recognizes and dismisses the vestiges of colonialism. The story takes place just a year after the end of the Nigerian war for independence. Although lawlessness ensues in the aftermath of a discarded government, their is hope for the future. Jonathon, the protagonist, is left with a good job and finds that his house is still standing. Thieves - symbolic of the thieving colonizing forces - threaten his new home, but he survives, and his neighbors help him in his efforts to rebuild. Achebe harkens back to the communal nature of pre-colonial Nigeria in an effort to call upon his fellow citizens to remember their culture and their roots, and to abandon the influence of European imperialism.