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How do present values clash with past beliefs in "Dead Men's Path"?

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In “Dead Men’s Path” the values of progress and modernity are represented by Michael Obi, the new headmaster. Traditional values are represented by the village priest, who comes to protest about the closing of the footpath. The priest first of all appeals to antiquity. The path, he says, has been there as long as anyone can remember, before Michael or his father was born. No one has the right to disturb it. Then he mentions the traditional belief that the path is a bridge between the living and the dead. Children who come to be born use the footpath to enter this world.

When Michael replies that these ideas are ludicrous and that education teaches children to laugh at such superstition, the village priest is not outraged, nor does he even necessarily disagree. He merely says that as a matter of prudence, to avoid a quarrel, Obi should open the path. The priest, therefore, does not want a direct confrontation between past and present, but Obi, who is eager to sweep away all the old beliefs, forces one. This is rather foolish of him. The very fact that the society is a primitive one should lead to the reflection that miscarriages, deaths in childbirth, and other such accidents will be fairly common and that if one occurs soon after he has closed the path, he will be blamed for it. This is, in fact, precisely what happens, and it was reasonably foreseeable. Michael Obi, although a reformer, is not quite as rational and practical as he would like to think in his pursuit of progress.

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