What techniques does Achebe use to characterize Michael Obi in "Dead Men's Path"? How does this characterization imply the ultimate failure of Obi's goals?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chinua Achebe indirectly characterizes Michael Obi as an enthusiastic, progressive headmaster. Achebe develops Obi's character through his actions and comments. Initially, Obi is depicted as a positive man with good intentions, but he is later portrayed as a stubborn, unsympathetic individual. Achebe portrays Obi's outspoken personality and depicts how he condemns the older, less educated men in his field. Achebe also portrays Obi's affinity for modernity through his comments. Obi says, "We shall have such beautiful gardens and everything will be just modern and delightful..." (Achebe  1). Obi's "modern methods" transform the school and as he puts all his efforts into creating a new, aesthetic learning environment. Achebe further develops Obi's character by illustrating his reaction to the village priest. Michael Obi's true personality is depicted, and he is unsympathetic and rigid. He does not compromise or listen to Ani and decides to keep the path blocked. Obi's arrogance and stubborn attitude imply his ultimate failure. The next day the villagers vandalize his school after a woman dies during childbirth and the inspectors write a scathing review of Obi's intolerant character.

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Dead Men's Path

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