In "Dead Men's Path," how does Michael Obi’s view of the dead men’s path differ from that of the priest?

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In Chinua Achebe's "Dead Men's Path ," there is an ancient path that runs through the local school's property. To the villagers, this path is the way that babies enter the world and the dead leave. Once the main character, Michael Obi, is assigned as headmaster of the...

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In Chinua Achebe's "Dead Men's Path," there is an ancient path that runs through the local school's property. To the villagers, this path is the way that babies enter the world and the dead leave. Once the main character, Michael Obi, is assigned as headmaster of the school, he scoffs at the system and traditions surrounding the path. He views the path as a symbol of ignorance and blind belief and believes that it is his responsibility to bring up the village's "children to laugh at such ideas."

In response to learning of the path's importance to the people, he puts up barriers around the school's property. His actions elicit a visit from the village's well-respected priest. In contrast to Obi's unkind derision, the priest suggests compromise in relation to the path, suggesting that new ideas can also flourish while honor is shown to past beliefs. The priest actually never reveals in the story whether he fully believes in the traditions of the path or not; however, it is clear that he values the ancestral traditions of the village and believes that they should be preserved. Unfortunately, Obi does not heed the priest's words and instead suggests that the ancient path should be forgotten and "another path" constructed that doesn't go on the school property, revealing that Obi ultimately, although he claims to be so open-minded and forward-thinking, is unwilling to accept differing opinions.

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