Literature 110- Week 2- Assignment 2
Read “Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, as well as Chinua Achebe’s “Dead Man’sPath,” and”Love and Other Catastrophes: A Mixed Tape by Amanda Holzer. I chose Dead Man’s Path because the deal of the class is that we are not to consult other opinions regarding authors before writing our own opinions and I have read and analyzed much of what Poe has written throughout my years. Also, I have an assignment to post a mixed tape for extra credit. I will call mine “Dead Man’s Path.” 🙂
Ah, the power of education to remove superstition. How many of us:
Throw salt over our shoulder if we knock over the shaker?
Never open an umbrella in the house?
Believe that the reason the Red Sox never won for so long was because of the “Curse of the Babe?”
Michael Obi arrives somewhere in what I assume is Africa (since the name of the school is Ndume Central School) with the thought “. . . of what a grand opportunity we’ve got at last to show these people how a school should be run.” Instead, what he quickly discovers is that tradition and progress clash, as the visitors to the village shrine quietly pass through school grounds in order to continue their faith. This is a disruption to his grand theme of making this backward school a proven success, and despite the protest of the village priest, Obi blocks the path to the shrine. He scoffs at the priest, and makes light of the priest’s beliefs by suggesting that “Dead men do not require footpaths.”
Although it appears that children do, for after the path is blocked, a young woman dies in childbirth because her child can not walk the path in order to be born. Hence, the village takes matters into their own hands, and deconstruct the beauty and rationality that the Obis have created, allowing the path of life and death to continue unobstructed. Despite his efforts to make his school the grandest example, it ends up being a noted disaster as the Supervisor arrives right after the villagers avenged the wrong.
Michael Obi arrived with an egotistical idea of how education would give proper life to the native children, and relieve them of the burdens of their religion and traditions. However, as Frank Leahy once said, “Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.” Obi, accompanied by his wife and his ego, quickly discovered that progressive ideas can only be progressive if the dead men are allowed their proper footpaths.