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Dead Men's Path

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The Parable Story “Dead Men’s Path”

In this short story “Dead Men’s Path,” Chinua Achebe gives the protagonist an exciting chance to fulfill his dream. Michael Obi was fixed officially headmaster of Ndume Central School, which was backward in every sense. He had to turn the school into a progressive one, however the school received a bad report when the supervisor came to inspect. Why did the school get a nasty report and Obi could not become a glorious headmaster even though he put his whole life into it? In order to find out the answer, we have to examine Michael Obi’s personality and the event that made the supervisor to write an airier result.

Michael Obi was a secondary school teacher. “The Ndume Central School had always been an unprogressive, so the mission authorities decided to send a young and energetic man to run it” (331). Obi was a juvenile and a jaunty man. Within Obi’s confidence, the reader can see his ardent desire. “He had many wonderful ideas and this was an opportunity to put them into practice” (331). By this golden chance he wanted to show other people how a school should be run. Obi wanted “his associates to give all their time and energy to the school” (331) because they were not married. He and his wife were very excited to work for the school. They both had made a plan to make the school modern and delightful. Even though Obi accepted his responsibility with enthusiasm, he could not become a great principal. Why? There should be some kind of obstacle in his plan.

Michael Obi had built a miserable garden around the school. “Beautiful hibiscus and allamanda hedges in brilliant red and yellow marked out the care- fully tended school compound from the rank neighborhood bushes” (331-332). “ Obi had two aims. A high standard of teaching was insisted upon and the school compound was to be turned into a place of beauty” (331). One evening Obi saw an old woman from the village walking slowly right across the compound. “On going up there he found faint signs of an almost disused path from the village across the school compound to the bush on the other side” (332). From one of his teachers, he discovered out that the path connects the village shrine with the villagers’ place of burial. To close that path, “Obi planted heavy sticks closely across the path at two places



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