UNIT - 1.5 CIVIL PEACE
Chinua Achebe (1930 -2013) was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He studied English, history, and theology at University college, the University of Ibadan. His first novel Things Fall Apart (1958) is the most widely read book in modern African literature.
His later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), Anthills of the Savannah (1987), and his last novel There Was a Country was published in 2012. He also published a large number of short stories, children's books, and essay collections. Since he was born in the Igbo village of Ogidi in south-eastern Nigeria, his novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society. He wrote about the cultural and political turmoil of Nigeria, from colony to postcolony, and through civil war and beyond.
The story 'Civil Peace' (1971) is set in the aftermath of the Nigerian Civil War. It is about the effects of the Nigerian Civil War on the people, and the "civil peace" that followed. Nigeria became an independent nation from the British colony in 1960. The Nigerian Civil War began in 1967 when the Igbo tried to separate from Nigeria to form the independent Republic of Biafra. After enduring three years of bloody battles, the Ibo were forced to surrender in 1970, ending the war. Biafrans suffered a severe famine due to the effect of war. Nearly a million people died of starvation.
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) wrote this story. He was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. The story 'Civil Peace' is written in the aftermath of the Nigerian Civil War. It is about the effects of the Nigerian Civil War on the people, and the "civil peace" that followed. Jonathan Iwegbu is the protagonist of the story. To explain both good and bad fortune to himself and others, he often repeats the phrase 'Nothing puzzles God.' He has survived in the Nigerian Civil War along with his wife and his children and considers himself lucky. He also has his bicycle, which he buried during the war to make sure it would not be stolen. He turns it into a taxi to make money. In two weeks, he makes 150 pounds.
Jonathan then travels to Enugu, the capital city. To his surprise, his house is still standing when other structures around it are ruined. The house needs some repairs, so he immediately collects zinc, wood and cardboard, and hires a carpenter to complete the work. He then moves his family back home. The family works hard to earn money and rebuild their lives. The children pick mangoes and sell them to soldiers' wives. Maria, Jonathan's wife makes akara balls to sell to their neighbours. When he comes to know that his job as a miner isn't possible, he involves in selling palm-wine.
Jonathan is given an award of 20 pounds for turning in the Biafran money to the Treasury. He leaves the office with this money in his pocket, taking care, so no thief should get it. That evening, he has trouble in falling asleep. He finally does so, only to be awakened by pounding on the front door. A group of thieves demands 100 pounds, promising not to hurt Jonathan or his family if he cooperates. Frightened, the family calls for the neighbours and police, but nobody responds and comes to help them. Jonathan replies that all he has is 20 pounds and is ready to give it for his family's protection Some thieves insist they should search the house for more, but the leader agrees with the amount and accepts.
The following morning the neighbours gather to review the results of the night's unfortunate disturbance. They discover Jonathan and the family are back at work. Jonathan explains them that the reward money cannot compare to what he lost in the war. He chooses to focus on his work in the present rather than regret what has happened.