GCSE OCR opening worlds- the dead man's path

notes on the short story the dead man's path

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  • Created on: 27-05-11 10:55
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Dead men's Path by Chinua Achebe
Opening Worlds No 1
Central conflict ­ modern and traditional.
Michael Obi ­ represents the modern.
Initially Michael and the modern are presented positively. "He had many
wonderful ideas and this was an opportunity.''
The traditional is initially referred to as being `unprogressive' and both `narrow'
and `less educated'.
Irony plays a large part in this story and is first witnessed in the last sentence of
the first paragraph. This is ironic because it is Michael's narrow mindedness
that causes the "Tribal War" between the school and the village.
Nancy (Michael's wife) is "infected" with his "passion" for the modern. This
marks a shift in how the modern is portrayed.
Nancy is motivated by the status she will gain as the headmaster's wife. (She
appears slightly ridiculous imagining herself as the queen of the school).
She imitates a European or American way of speaking: "A penny for your
thoughts Mike".
Michael Obi fails to see the significance of the footpath that connects the village
shrine with their place of burial ( it is SACRED!).
Contrast ­ there is a contrast between Michael Obi's dogmatism and the more
reasoned wiser approach of the priest.
A local women dies in childbirth and it is believed that the ancestors have been
insulted by the closure of the path.
Message ­ for harmony to exist the traditional and the modern need to work
together. Modern (European/White) is not always best.


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