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Analysis of “Dead Mans Path” by Chinua Achebe

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    Conflict between the village and the headmaster In the short story “Dead Men’s Path” the author Chinua Achebe tells us a story about Obi, his wife, the village and the people that live there. This short story shows us some relation to conformity, identity, and rebellion, because of some conflict and things that went on in the village. This village had a school that was “unprogressive”, and needed a new headmaster. Obi was picked as the new headmaster, because he was young. The “Mission authorities” decided to put him in charge, because he was young and they wanted to see a change in the school.

    Obi and his wife were really happy and satisfied with this decision. Obi wanted to make a difference! All the other teachers were young and that made Obi happy, because they don’t have families and can put their full attention on teaching and the school. His wife planted a garden near the school to make it look more modern and beautiful. One day he saw an old woman going somewhere through a path that was barely used near the school. That didn’t make him very happy, so he had it blocked at both ends.

    Blocking the path made an old priest of the village come up to him and tells him why it was so important to the village. Turns out that on the other side of the path was a burial ground, and people form the village went and visited their ancestors though that path. They also believed that the dead ancestors used that same path to come to the visit the village. The priest tried to make a point that it wasn’t a good idea to close the path, but Obi didn’t listen. He strongly believed that the path makes the school look bad, and that it can be made in a different place.

    So he didn’t do anything about it. When he wakes up, he finds a big mess near the school. That same day the inspector came and wrote a bad report. If Obi listened to the priest and opened the path, it would all be different. Obi had a dream to make the school more modern, and to make it more beautiful. He was close to fulfilling his dream when he found the path. That was the only thing that was in his way, but to the villagers, it was everything they believed in and it was very important to them. I think if Obi listened to the priest, his dream would come true, and the villagers ould stay happy. I feel like he was wrong, because the villagers used that path for years and then he shows up and decides to change things around. This story could have a couple of different themes. One of the themes could be conformity. It could be conformity, because Obi believed that the path could be made some place else, it didn’t have to right next to the school. Because of his belief, he closed it down. The people of the village couldn’t do anything about it, so I think some of them changed their beliefs. Another theme that this story could have could be rebellious.

    The story gets rebellious by the end, when the conflict starts between the people of the village and Obi, the headmaster. The priest was being really rebellious to the fact that the path was being blocked. They used that path for years, maybe centuries, and then Obi comes along and blocks it only to make the school a better place. The last theme that this story could have would be identity. I think the theme could be identity, because the path was a certain identity to the village. They could go visit the dead, the dead, use that path to visit them, and it was used by their ancestors. . It meant a lot for them.

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