Michael Obi’s decision to not keep an open mind and a no discussion environment while dealing with different and new cultural beliefs did more harm than good

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Unfortunately, this draft needs to be significantly revised.


There are two major issues with your topic and your thesis statement. The first is that your argument is evaluative, meaning that it states what “should” happen. Yes, of course Obi should have listened to the villagers, but the point of the story is that he did not. We cannot argue about what he “should” have done, since he is a character who takes the actions that he does in the story. What we can develop an argument about is why he makes these decisions in the story, using evidence from the story itself to support that argument. The question is not whether or not he should have negotiated with the villagers, the question is why does he not do this?


You need to first introduce the reader to the work you are discussing (title and author) and give a brief outline of the plot before you get into your analysis. A general reader would have no idea that you are discussing a short story, who Obi is, or what the “decision” is that you are discussing.

Body paragraph:

Other than a couple of grammatical errors, this paragraph is fine. However, once you rewrite your intro/thesis, this paragraph will also need to be rewritten to focus on supporting your thesis statement.

Format: In your final draft, do not label your essay with headings for each section.


There is the essay that need to be edited

Literary Analysis Essay
Thesis statement
Michael Obi’s decision to not keep an open mind and a no discussion environment while dealing with different and new cultural beliefs did more harm than good. This is because he lost his cordial relationship with natives, lost his job, and saw his property belonging to the school destroyed. For these reasons, Obi should have had a realistic negotiation with the villagers instead of using force.
From the beginning, Obi shows that he had come with no intention to joke, instead he is bent on forcing people to work the way he wants things to be done. When asked about the professors not having the wives at school, Obi replied authoritatively “He plans to show others at Ndume Central School how a school ought to be run.” This was a signal that Obi was an administrator who is not open-mind to other people’s beliefs. As a result, his lack of open mindedness and disbelief in discussions, led to him closing the pathway that connected the village temple to the graveyard (Penson, p.10). This decision breed into numerous challenges and conflict, not only to Obi but with the entire school. First and foremost, Obi was told by the teacher that there was a heated argument on the last time the school tried to close the pathway. However, he adamantly refused to listen to the information. This shows the lack of open-mindedness. If the pathway situation generated into arguments, it would have been wise for Obi to research about what brought about the argument and what was agreed. This was never done but with sticks and barbed wire, the pathway was blocked. Valuable information was rendered by the teacher which was never considered (Richter, p.78). This was a sign that Obi never considered what the teacher was advising. Later the relationship between Obi and the leaders went from bad to worse. Some of the local teachers believed in the long-standing tradition and the values related to the pathway. Teachers also felt very offended by Obi’s decision to block the pathway.
Not only did the closure of the pathway lead to a fall-out between the teachers and Obi, but the action also led to a fall-out between Obi and the priest. The priest felt concerned, so he approached Obi for an explanation and explaining why the pathway was so very important to the village. In his explanation, the priest told Obi how the pathway was used by the ancestors to travel as well as the spirits of those about to be born (Jeffren, p.40). In his non-open-mindedness and lacks of inclusion of other beliefs, Obi replied that “Dead men do not require footpaths.” This was an insult to the priest who had come for discussion to move forward about the matter. He further noted that he would advise the students to laugh at such beliefs. One can make the argument that different societies have different cultural places where they go for prayers and also practice their cultural ceremonies. For example, the Catholics pray while kneeling, some Indians do not eat any animal that has blood, and Muslims do not eat pork. When the priest explains to Obi the treasured beliefs about the pathway, Obi should have held a fruitful discussion with an open-mind not just insulting the priest. Additionally, the closure of the pathway was blamed for the woman’s death while giving birth (Penson, p.30). Like any other society, there are rituals that will always be done or sided for one to feel protected while doing something. For example, some Christians pray to God for their protection before they set out for any travel. There prayer is for God’s protection while on the journey. This is the same scenario with having an open pathway where it is believed the spirits of the children that is about to be born is established in the path. Monks believed and pray through their Buddha. These are symbolic features that societies treasure most for their success in whatever they do. Obi’s decision to block the pathway can be compared to removing the Buddha that the monks believe and worship. Whatever bad things like the death of the woman while giving birth, will always be blamed for the blockage of the pathway for the spirits of those about to be born.
Furthermore, the lack of an open-mindedness and inclusion of other people’s cultural beliefs saw the school’s property like flower gardens, classrooms and hedges were destroyed after Obi’s decision to block the pathway. As such, instances can be observed in Pakistani when the rebels destroyed the artefacts of the Muslim believers. In response, the Muslims attacked and killed the rebels. The same applies to this case, the villagers were very angered with the closure of the ancestral pathway believed to bring fortunes to the village. Additionally, they believed that the ancestors were very unhappy because the village was being punished for the death of the woman who was giving birth. This was beyond their imagination due to the fact that as villagers, they were never invited to take part in the decision for the closure of the pathway (Richter, p.140). In revenge, the villagers or the natives like any other offended society attacked and destroyed the school property. Additionally, Muslims sacrifice to get the blessing from Allah. The villagers were advised by the diviner to make sacrifices to appease the ancestors who were unable to use the pathway. In turn, the villagers made the sacrifice by destroying school property. The last harm in relation to the closure of the pathway was the dismissal of Obi from the role of being the headmaster of Ndume Central School (Jeffren, p.92). Like all other leaders who fail to handle very well sensitive tribal conflicts, the best way is to remove such a leader and bring those who are open-minded and are able to discuss with the locals in order to reach an amicable solution.
In conclusion, Obi needed to have be open mind and accept or believe that there are other people in the world who will have different beliefs contrary to when he believes. Though his cause was for the good of the school, he handled the situation unprofessionally. Insults like utterances to the priest of “Dead men do not require footpaths” and not consulting the locals, made it inevitable as people were being dismissed from work and the school’s property being destroyed.

Works cited
Gwynn R. S. Achebe, Chinua. Dead Men’s Path. Literature: A Pocket Anthology. Fourth Edition. New York: Penguin (2009).
Juliane Richter. Forward Across Graves. Chinua Achebe’s “Dead Men’s Path” as an Example for a Cultural Clash. Munich, GRIN Verlag (2011).
Nina Penson. “Dead Men’s Path.” prezi (2013)
Miguel, Jeffren. “The Dead Men’s Path.” Modern Fictions Studies (2015).

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