Currents in Literature page 169
"Dead Mans Path" is a ironic short story that contains a cause-and-effect progression. In the beginning of the story, we see that the Ndume Central School was deemed very unprogressive. That was why the main character, Mr. Obi, came to the school as the new headmaster. This is the cause-and-effect pattern. It truly makes the title more ironic as the story unfolds.
Because the school is so unsuccessful, Mr. Obi's wife, Nancy, wanted to support her husband in his efforts to improve it. Thus, she planted flower beds and improved the landscaping across the school compound. The cause was the fact that Nancy wanted to support her husbands efforts and the effect is the flower beds she planted.
The story continues in this cause-and-effect pattern all the way to the end. For example, after Nancy planted the flower beds, Mr. Obi spotted a woman walking right through the newly planted flowers and was angry at the women's audacity. So, he barricaded the path, in hopes of stopping the flow of people cutting threw the landscaping.
After some time, the village priest visited Mr.Obi and told him that the path was a sacred one by which the dead departed and the new babies arrived. Hearing this, Mr. Obi told the priest that he didn't want any students at the school to believe the priest's religion, but tried to compromise and open a new path, behind the school. But, the priest refused. A few days later, a woman died during childbirth, supposedly because the child could not arrive through the barricades. Outraged, the villagers formed a riot, tore up the flower beds and knocked down one of the school buildings. Unfortunately, a school inspector came to overlook the school on the very same day and Mr. Obi got a bad report about the school.
I find this story very ironic because Mr. Obi was trying his best to improve the school by barricading the path, saving the flowers. But, instead he got a riot, a demolished building and a bad...
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