Michael Obi Essay
Michael Obi in Dead Men’s Path is an excitable young man who gets a chance to get his hopes of progressing the Ndume Central School fulfilled when he is appointed headmaster.
His obsession with “modern ways” and extreme eagerness to make changes negatively affect his decision making on how important the path is to the town’s natives. His dismissal and refusal to acknowledge the tradition is the inevitable means to the end of the story.
Obi is so focused on his assignment of bringing the school into the modern world that he is blind to how important the traditional tribal ways and beliefs are to the townspeople he needs to work with in order for the school to be successful. He is very stubborn and refuses to keep an open mind about the path. His only focus is making the school as modern as possible and to stamp out anything old and traditional.
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He ignores the warnings from the fellow teachers and signs from the villagers about the path. When another teacher warns him about how there was “a big row” the last time someone attempted to close the path, he brushes it off and decides to block it off anyways.
Even when the village priest calls on Obi to tell him how much the village depended on the path and how important it is to their tradition, he would still not listen and respect what the priest has to say. After a young woman dies during childbirth Obi finally has to face the consequences of his stubbornness to compromise with the villagers.
Obi shows an inability to compromise with the villagers because of his complete belief in modern ways and his negative attitude towards the “primitive” (as he sees them) beliefs of the villagers. Obi will not allow the villagers to make a highway out of the school.
He feels that his goal with the school is to teach students through “modern ways” to laugh at the idea of tradition. He doesn’t think that students can be taught in these modern ways and still respect their ancestors tradition. This ultimately leads to the school’s downfall.
In the end, Michael Obi is not able to accomplish his goal of creating a modern school from an unprogressive one. He is so focused on his goal that he will not listen to the villagers or respect their cultural tradition. He ignores the warnings teachers and villagers give him about the importance of the footpath and shows a complete inability to compromise with them because of his attitude towards their beliefs. This in the end leads to the destruction of the school and Michael Obi’s dream with it.