An Analysis Of Dead Mans Path And Dead Men's Path

1004 Words5 Pages
Humans are egotistical; we are narrow-minded and we disregard others perspectives. We are critical of others and their values, determined to force our own values upon them. Without considering the feelings and beliefs of others, it's in our human nature to manipulate others to feed our ego and satisfy our own interests and desires. These ideas are expressed in Chinua Achebe's “Dead Men's Path” and Stephen King’s “Boogeyman”. Both Michael Obi and Lester Billings let their self-image and personal beliefs cloud their judgement. The school that Obi tried to “improve” by implementing his own values and disregarding the natives’, and the Boogeyman that Billings refuses to accept, satisfies the characters’ egos without considering the consequences.
Michael Obi was appointed headmaster of a school in Ndume, Ndume Central School. He is a foreigner in their land and does not share the same views as the natives. Obi sees himself as a “progressive” man; he hopes to modernize their school and their traditions. In Obi’s point of view, “Ndume School was backward in every sense of the word” (Achebe 1). He hoped to turn the school into what he perceived as “a place of beauty”. Driven by his motives to reform the school and appeal to his personal standard, he is not content with the path the locals use to reach the burial ground. Obi orders that the path not be used anymore “‘that was some time ago. But it will not be used now’’(Achebe 2). He not only disregards the importance of the path for the natives, but he is more concerned for the inspection of the school, “‘what will the Government Education Officer think of this when he comes to inspect the school next week?”. In his ignorance, he fails to consider the feelings and traditions of the natives, solely focused on implementing his views. He is unable to discern that the path serves more than a walking purpose to the natives, “‘I would suggest your constructing another path, skirting our premises.’” His failure to regard for the spiritual significance of the path to the villagers, results in great conflict between the progressive foreigner and the traditional natives. As a result of his disregard for the natives’ traditions and values, as well as their conflicting
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