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Catastrophe, Aftermath, Amnesia: Chinua Achebe’s “Civil Peace”

  • Thomas Jay Lynn
Chapter
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)

Abstract

Achebe’s short story “Civil Peace” depicts a family and community’s response to the devastation wrought by war, specifically the Nigerian Civil War. Although the tale by no means abandons hope for either the Iwegbu family or its community, it wryly suggests that civil peace is the mirror image of civil war, insofar as the human tendencies that push people to war are not completely resolved in its wake, regardless of political settlements. In the post-war civil society, civility is in short supply: people continue to bully, deceive, and overreach in the struggle for a foothold in the peace. In partly carnivalesque mode, the author challenges us to understand that peace, to locate certain enduring lessons of war, and, perhaps, to circumvent its needless repetition by contemplating varied human behaviors in war’s aftermath. “Civil Peace” asks us to probe human conflict and aggression when armies have suspended their most destructive operations.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Penn State BerksReadingUSA

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