In Chinua Achebe's "Dead Men's Path," why is Michael Obi given the position of school headmaster?

In "Dead Men's Path," Michael Obi is given the position of school headmaster because he is a progressive, enthusiastic young man with aspirations of one day becoming appointed headmaster of a school.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Michael Obi is a progressive, enthusiastic young man with aspirations of one day becoming appointed headmaster of a school. At the beginning of the story, Michael Obi's dream is fulfilled when the Mission authorities send him to run the Ndume Central School in January 1949. The Mission authorities wanted an...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Michael Obi is a progressive, enthusiastic young man with aspirations of one day becoming appointed headmaster of a school. At the beginning of the story, Michael Obi's dream is fulfilled when the Mission authorities send him to run the Ndume Central School in January 1949. The Mission authorities wanted an energetic young man with progressive, contemporary principles to run the school and hopefully influence the traditional community to accept modern culture. Michael Obi is a zealous supporter of modernity and earned the designation of being named a "pivotal teacher." In addition to having better records than other potential headmaster candidates, Michael Obi is also outspoken against the villagers' traditional ways of life, which is a character trait that the Mission authorities value. Overall, the Mission authorities give Michael Obi the position of headmaster of the Ndume Central School because he is a qualified candidate with a passion to transform the traditional village into a modern, forward-thinking community.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Michael Obi is given the position of school headmaster because the Mission authorities believe that he can revolutionize the school. Because of Michael's training and his enthusiasm for progressive education, the authorities feel that Michael will be able to modernize the education program at the school.

Michael is also outspoken in his condemnation of what he considers the backward and superstitious culture at the school. He believes that he will be able to institute meaningful changes when he is headmaster.

So, when he gets to the school, Michael decides to raise the education standards and to call for a complete renovation of the school grounds. He commissions bright, beautiful flower gardens to be grown in the school compound. By doing this, he hopes to highlight the new changes taking place at the school. In his zeal, Michael neglects to take the sensibilities of the villagers into consideration, and the final results of his experimentation are extremely disappointing to him.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team