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Dead Men's Path

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Boe Lee

on 7 April 2014

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Transcript of Dead Men's Path

Dead Men's Path
Author
Point of View
Character
Stops on the Way
1. Author
2. Point of View
3. Character
4.Plot
5.Setting
6. Symbol
7. Conflict
8. Theme
Chinua Achebe
Young Chan Lee
Bo Hae Lee
Yoo Min Lee
Jung Ah Park
Ji Yoon Park

Plot
Setting
Conflict
Michael Obi
26 years-old
passionate
ambitious
well-educated
uncompromising
Nancy Obi
wife of Michael Obi
readily accepts
modern changes
eager to change school into
European inspired beauty
Ostentatious
Village Priest Ani
religious leader
Traditional
Conservative
Right Wing
foreshadows consequences
Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era.
His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory.

After converts, his parents stopped following their ancestor’s ritual but still respected their tradition, which made a great impact on young Achebe.
He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student.




After independence, there was a tendency for African writers to use their indigenous languages to express their thoughts and freedom.
Achebe refused to follow this tendency and insisted on using English, because he wants his novels to be read through out the world.

16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013.
A member of Ibo tribe and his mother tongue is Igbo.
His parents were converts to CMS (Protestant Church Mission Society) and his father was a missionary teacher.

Third person
Omniscient point of view

The wives of the other teachers would envy her position. She would set the fashion in everything… Then, suddenly, it occurred to her that there might not be other wives. Wavering between hope and fear, she asked her husband, looking anxiously at him.(p183 line 4 )


After converts, his parents stopped following their ancestor’s ritual but still respected their tradition, which made a great impact on young Achebe.

He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student.
After independence, there was a tendency for African writers to use their indigenous languages to express their thoughts and freedom.


Achebe refused to follow this tendency and insisted on using English, because he wants his novels to be read through out the world.

Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era.


His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory.

Mission authorities
appointed Michael Obi as
headmaster
of Ndume Central School
Michael and Nancy Obi
discusses promising future
for Ndume Central School
Michael is eager to put his
wonderful ideas into practice
while Nancy is more excited to
decorate the school into a
beautiful garden
While admiring his work, Michael witnesses an old woman
hobbling across the garden.
Discovers a faint paint
across school compound
amazed (more flabbergasted)
that the village people crosses
the garden without any guilt
learns that the path connects the
village shrine with their place of
burial
The path is still important to the villagers
and there was a huge fight some time ago
Obi is more than concerned
about the inspection from the Government Education Officer if he doesn't do anything about the path.
Installs fences and barb wire
to guard off the path
Three days later village priest Ani visits Obi to explain how the whole cycle of life depends on the path but Obi laughs at his unrational belief
Two days later a young woman dies
while giving birth.
Diviner proclaims that serious sacrifices
should be made to console the insulted
spirits of ancestors
During the night, Michael and Nancy's
hardwork was trampled and rooted from
the ground and one of the school buildings
torn down
Obi ends up receiving a "nasty report" and probably dismissed as headmaster
Exposition
Exposition
Rising Action
Rising Action
Rising Action
Rising Action
Rising Action
Rising Action
Crisis
Crisis
Climax
Resolution/
Denoument
Symbol
Theme
Old woman
(who walks through the garden)
Young woman
(who dies while giving birth)
acts as catalyst
triggers Obi to strengthen path
serves as justification and
prove that Ani's point
Supervisor
white
traditional shaman
reflects author's point
equal blend of European and
African origin
"he was only twenty-six but looked thirty or more.
"Obi's hopes were fulfilled much earlier than he had expected"
"Young and energetic man"
"outspoken in his condemnation of narrow views of these older and often less-educated ones"
left-wing
not conservative
"sound secondary school eduction"
"grand opportunity we've got at last to show these people how a school should be run"
"He was stoop-shouldered and looked frail. But he sometimes surprised people with sudden bursts of physical energy.
mismatch of physical appearance and personality
"listening with a satisfied smile"
"scandalized to see an old woman hobble.."
"The whole idea is fantastic. Our duty is to teach your children to laugh at such ideas"
Modern
Liberal
Left wing
Influential
"In their two years of married life she had become completly inefcted by his passion for "modern methods"
"pivotal teacher" in the official records"
"We cannot allow people to make a highway of our school compound"
"But the school compound cannot be a thoroughfare"
Conceited
less focus on education and more on outward appearance
likes to show off
"queen of school"
"The wives of the other teachers would envy her position"
Uncompromising
"tapped on the floor...each time he mad e anew point in his argument"
"if you reopen the path we shall have nothing to quarrel about"
"Let the hawk perch and let the eagle perch"
already out the door"
old man
Protagonist
Antagonist
January, 1949 in Ndume Central School, a rural village in Southeast Nigeria

Ndume School – always unprogressive school, under the Mission authorities


Ibo village in Nigeria, where ancient tribal belief still exist. Many Ibo villagers still showed respect for their local diety.

Ibo -
transmit the souls of newborns, the dead, and ancestors of the village
(Although it is hardly used, it connects the village shrine with their place of burial. 183p, line 13)
(Our dead relatives depart by it and our ancestors visit us by it. But most important, it is the path of children coming in to be born…, 184p, line 25)
Dead Men's Path

the tradition of the tribe
(this path was here before you were born and before your father was born. 184p, line 24)

failure of Obi
(Mr. Obi put his whole life into the work, and his wife hers too. 183p, line 13)
modern
the ambition and ideal of Obi and his wife
frailty
Garden, Flowers
exclude the tradition

heavy sticks were planted closely across the path at the two places where it entered and left the school premises. These were further strengthened with barbed wire. (184p, line 18)

Heavy Sticks, Barbed Wire
let the hawk perch and let the eagle perch (184p
)

African proverb
let others believe what they believe even if you don’t agree

Internal
External
Internal conflict -> X
Example

“I was thinking what a grand opportunity we’ve got at last to show these people how a school should be run.” (p.183 line10)
“And what has that got to do with the school?”
(p.184 line15)
“The villagers might, for all I know, decide to use the schoolroom for pagan ritual during the inspection.” (p.184 line 17)


- Obi vs Ani

Ani
“Look here, my son., this path was here before you were born and before your father was born. The whole life of this village depends on it. Our dead relatives depart by it and our ancestors visit us by it. But most important, it is the path of children coming to be born…”
Obi
“The whole purpose of our school is to eradicate just such beliefs as that. Dead men do not require footpaths. The whole idea is just fantastic. Our duty is to teach your children to laugh at such ideas.” (p.184 line23)

Personal
-
modern
vs
tradition
(new) (old)

-> Obi ->Ani

Cultural
Example - Modern

“We shall have such beautiful gardens and everything will be just modern and delightful.” (p.183 )

In their two years of married life she had completely infected by his passion for modern methods.(p.183 line)



Nancy’s dream gardens came to life with the coming of the rains, and blossomed. Beautiful hibiscus and allamanda hedges in brilliant red and yellow marked out the carefully tended school compound from the rank neighborhood bushes. (p.183 line )



Obi woke up next morning among the ruin of his work. The beautiful hedges were torn up not just near the path but right round the school, the flowers trampled to death and one of the school buildings pulled down…(p.185 line 1)


Michael

- Western
one of the angel names from Bible

Obi
- Nigerian
"everyone's heart"
Irony
Obi

Working hard -> ruin of his work

Example.
Obi accepted this responsibility with enthusiasm.(p.183)
He had many wonderful ideas and this was an opportunity to put them into practice.(p.183)
Mr. Obi put his whole life into the work. (p.183 line11)



Obi

2) Passion of modernization --> misguided zeal


Example.
The mission authorities decided to send a young men and energetic man to run it. (p.183)
the white Supervisor came to inspect the school and wrote a nasty report on the state of the premises but more seriously about the ”tribal war situation developing between the school and the village, arising in part from the misguided zeal of the new headmaster.(p.185)


Diviner
represents traditional side
Falling Action
"modern methods"
"these old and superannuated people in the teaching field who would be better emplyed as traders in the Onitsha market."
Full transcript