Analysis Paper

988 Words Apr 2nd, 2015 4 Pages
The short story "Dead Men's Path" is written by one of Africa’s most acclaimed writers, Chinua Achebe, who grew up in a Christian family. The main character in the story is Michael Obi, a young and energetic perfectionist who is excited about modernize everything of a traditional school after he got assigned as the new headmaster. Not a while into his job, Michael finds that along with his misguided enthusiasm, ignoring the traditions and beliefs of the villagers can have great consequences. The major theme of this story is the collision between new ideas and traditions. Society can move forward by adapting new ideas, but still maintain respect for past traditions and maintain cultural beliefs. The fact that Obi and his wife are …show more content…
The path was then blocked with heavy logs and reinforced with barbed wire. A priest was sent by the outraged villagers to try and talk some sense into Obi, pressing upon him the significance that the path has not to just the villagers, but also the dead who walk the path. Rather than explaining the showdown between the priest and the young headmaster, Achebe cleverly uses dialogue to contrast Obi’s warped mental attitude with the old priest’s poise and his economy of words. The patience and wisdom of age are pitted against the restless energy and arrogance of unseasoned youth. Obi seeks to unbalance the equilibrium of the village that the old priest’s wisdom and poise embody. As though the barbed wire fence is not insult enough, Obi’s arrogance pushes him beyond cultural bounds when he orders the priest to construct a path that will skirt the school premises, as if he is taking on the village ancestors personally. Obi seals his own doom when he glibly says, “I don’t suppose the ancestors will find the little detour too burdensome” (202). The priest’s portentous reply, “I have no more words to say” (202). sets the stage for the final irony of the story: the tragic fall of the new headmaster. The contradiction between new ideas and old traditions lead to a tragic ending in this story with

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