Dead Men’s Path

Analysis of the short story 'Dead Men’s Path'.
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The short story “Dead men’s path”, is written by Chinuea Achebe. He was a Nigerian writer who was born in 1930. He is one of Africa’s most acclaimed writers. His early novels, such as “Things fall apart” (1958) and “No longer erase” (1960), describe the effects of European colonialism on newly independent African nations.


The story is about Michael Obi and his wife, who are two perfectionists. They run the Ndume Central School in Africa. The villagers next to the school want to have a path across the school’s compound. Michael and his wife won’t let them, so this conflict leads to a war between the villagers and Michael Obi’s school.


The main character is the headmaster Michael Obi. He is a person who doesn’t believe in the old customs to the villagers, and he doesn’t respect their culture.


The villager believed that the path that went across the school compound led away their dead, allowed their ancestors to visit, and brought their children to be born.


The priest in the village tries to persuade Michael to let the villagers walk through the compound. He says that he understands that the belief is foolish, but it is a tradition that is many generations old. The headmaster wants to kill this belief, so he can keep the path closed.


“Let the eagle perch and let the hawk perch.” These words mean to let others believe what they want to believe, even if you do not agree.


Soon after a village woman died during childbirt and the village made great sacrifices to appease their gods, they destroyed the schoolyard. So, in theory it is always wise to “let the eagle perch and let the hawk perch,” because you never know what the hawk might do to the eagle’s nest.

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