I have enjoyed re-reading this story during the summer!
Living and surviving through the Nigerian Civil war has made Jonathan Iwegbu value life and it has shaped his philosophy of optimism.
The Nigerian Civil war began in 1967 when the Igbo tried to form the Independent Republic of Biafra. This incident triggered thirty months of civil war. The war was the result of economic, ethnic, cultural, and religious tensions among the various peoples of
The Biafrans have witnessed bloody battles and they surrendered in 1970 because the population suffered a severe famine and a million of people died of starvation.
Jonathan is indeed conveying a strong message to his post-civil war generation.
With his invincible spirit of optimism, he refuses to surrender himself because he has survived the civil war and he considers himself as “extraordinarily happy.”
Nothing can be “compared to the safety of five human heads.” He has lost all his money, he works very hard for a living, and he lives in a mud house, but he is “extraordinarily” happy because the war is over.
Jonathan has chosen optimism as a philosophy and he addresses all the problems which happen to him in his daily life with this following doctrine: “Nothing puzzles God.” Jonathan is a spiritual man who has a strong optimistic view of life which has kept him from madness and it gives him the necessary strength to take care of himself and his family.
Achebe has sent a strong message of peace to his people through his main character called Jonathan. Indeed civil peace cannot happen without a total surrender to God.
He does not want to resemble the man who has “collapsed into near-madness in an instant” because he has lost his money. Jonathan’s faith in God makes him physically and mentally much stronger than this man. The most important thing for Jonathan Iwegbu is to be thankful for what you have been given and especially not to forget to vocally praise the wisdom of God. Jonathan Iwegbu prefers to count his blessings and he is satisfied with things as they are. Therefore, the incident with the thieves is counting “as nothing.”
Jonathan is a symbol of hope to all the Nigerians who have survived the civil war and who are yearning for civil peace.