What does the path symbolize in "Dead Men's Path"?

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The footpath connecting the village shrine to their place of burial that runs through the Ndume Central School's compound symbolically represents the ancestral beliefs and traditional culture of the African villagers. After the zealous headmaster and proponent of modernity, Michael Obi, closes the ancestral footpath, the village priest Ani visits...

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The footpath connecting the village shrine to their place of burial that runs through the Ndume Central School's compound symbolically represents the ancestral beliefs and traditional culture of the African villagers. After the zealous headmaster and proponent of modernity, Michael Obi, closes the ancestral footpath, the village priest Ani visits him and explains the significance of the footpath. He tells Michael Obi that the ancestral spirits walk the path to visit the villagers and that it is also the path of children coming to be born. Unfortunately, Michael Obi wishes to eradicate traditional beliefs and rituals, which is one of the motivating factors for refusing to open the footpath. Later on, a woman dies during childbirth and the villagers avenge her death by destroying the grounds of the compound. Overall, the ancestral footpath symbolically represents the traditional beliefs, rituals, and culture of the African villagers.

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The path in "Dead Men's Path" represents:

...the path's historical and spiritual significance as the sacred link between the villagers, their dead ancestors, and the yet unborn. ("Dead Men's Path" Enotes)

This path was vitally important to the villagers and held much symbolic importance, and because of their religious beliefs, was even more important.  Because the path was cordoned off by Obi, the villagers saw that as a blatant sign of disrespect and they took matters into their own hands.  Later, Obi was dismissed because of his blatant disregard for the villagers.

 

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