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"Civil Peace" by Chinua Achebe
Transcript of "Civil Peace" by Chinua Achebe
Point of View
The point of view in "Civil Peace" is third person limited only to Jonathan's point of view. This helps convey the theme stronger through Jonathan's actions.
Internal: Jonathan has to provide for his family in the aftermath of the civil war
External: The thieves come to his home demanding money even though Jonathan does not have
Biography of the Author
• Chinua Achebe was born in the year 1930
• Lived in the Nigeria during the civil war and survived the bombings
• Affected his writing because he might have seen first-hand what other people were going through
• Growing up he learned many Ibo and Western values
Analysis of the Plot
Exposition: Starts of with Jonathan, the main character, thanking God for allowing him and his family to be alive after the civil war that happened in Nigeria.
Rising Action: Jonathan and his family trying to reestablish their lives after the war by getting jobs to earn money.
Climax: In the middle of the night some robbers come to Jonathan's house to steel his money.
Falling Action: Jonathan gives up all his money to the robbers.
Resolution: Jonathan would rather have his family unharmed than put up a fight for money.
Significance of the Title
The title "Civil Peace" is said in the story by Jonathan. He tells the robbers that they should not show violence after having seen it in the civil war but rather have civil peace. It refers back to the civil war that had happened in Nigeria.
Analysis of Characters
• does not change much throughout the story
• He is grateful for his family although not all of them survived
• He cares more about his family and their well being than money
• They speak a different dialect than Jonathan does, showing that they might not be of the same area
• The leader might have a family so he does not forcefully search his home and instead trust that Jonathan is telling the truth when saying he only has the “egg-rasher”
• They might be desperate for money to take care of themselves and/or their families
Setting and Atmosphere
The setting takes place in Nigeria right after the Civil War that happened. The setting helps build the conflict of people trying to earn money in any means possible. By having people do this it makes Jonathan stand out more on his thankfulness in both all his belongings staying in tack and for his family who made it through the war. The peace and rebuilding atmosphere in the story helps show how the people are feeling after the war.
Analysis of Theme
• Irony: “His children picked mangoes near the military cemetery and sold them to soldiers wives for a few pennies…” p. 447
• Foreshadowing: “He was normally a heavy sleeper but that night he heard all the neighborhood noises die down one after another” p.448
• Flashback: “One day at the height of the war it was commandeered for urgent military action” p. 445
• Imagery: “his disreputable rags, nor the toes peeping out of one blue and one brown canvas shoe”
• Symbolism: The thieves symbolize all the bad that goes on in the world
• the theme is don’t focus on material things
• Jonathan valued family more than anything because that could not be replaced
• “I count it as nothing” this shows that he does not care because his family was not harmed
Overall I believe this was a good short story. It shows what other people have to go through in other countries of the world. I recommend It because it teaches a valuable lesson that we should not value materialistic things more than family.