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"Civil Peace" By Chinua Achebe Essay

1433 words - 6 pages

"Civil Peace" is a short story which was written in the 20th century by Chinua Achebe. Nigeria was torn apart by a civil war, and currently in Nigeria the country is united after the bloody war. The author tries to encourage his native Nigerian people with a short story that is filled with optimism. Chinua Achebe's short story can be analyzed in regard to the three important literary elements which are characterization, tone, and conflict.Achebe's goal as a writer was to depict his people. He learned about his own people, who were once a part of the Igbo civilization by "interviewing older people and reading the writings of colonial administration missionaries" ("Short Stories for Students Volume" pg. 17). Once the civil war began, he decided to shift gears, from writing novels, and focus on poetry and short stories, which one is "Civil Peace." Achebe was born in 1930 in a village in eastern Nigeria. His father worked for a Church Missionary Society. Achebe's early education was through the society's school, Achebe began learning English at the age of 8 (Wikipedia pg. 1). Once he was 14, he became one of the few selected to attend the Ibadan University, he studied English literature. After he graduated, Achebe had a short stint as a teacher. A year later he became a producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, where he remained for 12 years ("Short Stories for Students Volume" pg. 17). After his producing days, he decided to become a full time author, where he published a few novels, short stories, and essays on politics and literature. In 1994, Achebe had to flee Nigeria because of the threat of being jailed. He moved to the United States and is currently a professor. In 1999, he was awarded the goodwill ambassador to the world the United Nations population Fund (Wikipedia page 3)."Civil Peace" has an interesting plot structure. The main character in Civil Peace is Jonathan Iwegbu. He is married and has three children. Jonathan is optimistic about everything because he has his wife, kids, house and a way to make a living. Other important characters in this short story are Maria and the children. They are very cooperative in rebuilding their family's life. The leader of the thieves and his people are other major characters towards the end. He and his people are trying to get some money form the Iwegbu family. Nigeria has just gone through a civil war. The Iwegbu family has come back, without knowing if Jonathan will have his job, or even if they will still have a home. When he comes back, his bike is still there, he ends up using the bike as a taxi. Then, they went back to the neighborhood, to find that their house was still standing, unlike some other houses. He then began to fix up the house. The children picked mangoes and sold them for pennies. With the money Jonathan made he opened up a bar in his house. Jonathan went back to his old work place, the Coal Corporation where he used to mine, but it has not opened. Then, when one night...

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