Dead Men’s Path

Dead Men’s Path


Questions on Chinua Achebe’s “Dead Men’s Path”
1) Create a short character sketch of Michael Obi, the story’s protagonist or main character. Is he an enthusiastic person? What is his job? Who does he work for? Is he positive about making an impact? Also sketch out Nancy Obi. What is her attitude to her husband and his chosen career? Back up what you say with at least one short QUOTE SANDWICH with a QUOTE and CITE for EVIDENCE
2) Recent fiction often dramatizes conflicts when different values collide (sometimes with ‘tragic’ or unhappy) results. What does the dead men’s path represent to the colonial administration / missionaries? What does it represent to the village? How is the path a METAPHOR about conflicting values? (A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares one thing to something else without telling us — a SIMILE uses LIKE or AS to tell use a comparison is being used.) Again use a QUOTE and CITE to back up what you say
3) Sketch out the character of the village priest in about 25-50 words. To explain the meaning of the path, the priest says, “Let the hawk perch and let the eagle perch” (Achebe 64). Tell us what this proverb means to you and the scheme of the story. Also, is Michael Obi respectful to the traditional values and beliefs represented by the village priest? (Does his ‘tone’ in Obi’s answer surprise you?) In this conflict, can the reader know who’s ‘right’? Why or why not? (How does Achebe take sides? How can you tell?)
4) Challenge Questions: Take a look at the ending of the story. In the ending, who is blamed for the destruction of the school building? Why has Michael Obi lost his promising career running a school? Is this fair? (Is it ‘tragic’ because it is caused by conflicting cultural forces that no one seems to control? Remember, Michael Obi is ‘between cultures’ — he is African but was educated in the British system, where he learned a different set of beliefs.) Also, look at the language of the last sentence of this piece. How is the ‘tone’ or word choice different than the rest of the story? Once again, anchor what you say with one direct QUOTE and CITE from the ending of the story for EVIDENCE

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