Professor Rosa P C
8 March 2013
In 20th Century, both Africans and African-Americans experienced dramatic revolutions. In Africa, black people got rid of colonialism and became independent from Great Britain and other colonizers (Thiel 269). Meanwhile, in the United States, according to Thomas J. Sugrue, who is a 20th American historian of teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, African-Americans protested for eliminating the discriminations toward black people, and gained a lot of attention from federal government in order to keep fighting for “America’s unfinished struggle over race, rights, and politics” (173). “Dead Men’s Path” and “Everyday Use” are written by an African Novelist Chinua Achebe and an African-American Alice walker respectively. In “Dead Men’s Path,” well-educated Michael Obi becomes the headmaster of Ndume Central School, and he wants to reform the entire school by improving the education standard and beautifying the school compound. One day, he discovers a public path connecting the school and the village’s burial ground. He despises the village’s tradition because his modern education teaches him so. Moreover, he considers this traditional path will give the supervisor bad impression, so he closed the path. When the priest of the village tries to convince Obi to reopen the path, Obi’s attitude has no change. Two days later, a woman dies from childbirth, and villagers blame her death on Obi. The conflict between Michael Obi and Villagers rise up. As a result, villagers destroy Obi’s school, and Obi gets a nasty report from a white supervisor. Obi’s career is ruined. In “Everyday Use,” the narrator Mrs Johnson has two daughters; Dee is the confident one with formal education, and Maggie is the other daughter staying with her mother all the time without any formal education. The story happens on one day, Dee comes back with her Muslim boyfriend to Mama’s house for visiting. After receiving some education from college, Dee realizes the significance of all heritages from her previous generations. When she visits her mother’s house, she finds many things are precious and interesting especially two quilts that she never notices before. So she wants to own all those old things. However, her understanding about those quilts is superficial since her purpose for having those quilts is only to decorate her apartment, and she feel contempt on her little sister’s usage on those old quilts. Thus, a conflict rises between Dee’s thought and her Mama and sister’s thoughts. Eventually, Dee does not get those quilts and leaves the house with disappointment. Although the tone in both short stories are strikingly different, both convey the similar wisdom of tradition.