What Is "Civil Peace" by Chinua Achebe?


Quick Answer

"Civil Peace" is Chinua Achebe's descriptive account of what the true African experience is like. Set in the eastern part of Nigeria after the civil war, the book shows the reader the life of Jonathan Iwegbu, who is living contentedly after surviving the brutal conflict because the war did not destroy his livelihood.

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Full Answer

While Iwegbu's life does not appear ideal from Western standards, he finds it quite appealing. His old bicycle has become a taxi service, allowing him to earn money to sustain himself and his family, moving toward financial goals. After he earns the money he needs to move where he wants to go, he visits Enugu, which was his hometown and is also the capital city of Biafra, one of the regions in the eastern part of Nigeria. He had worried that the civil war had leveled his hometown, but when he returns, he finds that the conflict did not completely destroy the house in which he grew up. Returning home, he is excited to start rebuilding his family home as well as his life. The interplay of ambition, struggle and contentment plays a strong role in driving the themes of the work. One of the most eye-opening aspects of this book from a Western perspective is the awareness of how few of the material objects that are often viewed as necessary are even desirable at all.

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