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Dead Men's Path

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Dead Men’s Path” (1953) by Chinua Achebe. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.

Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) was a Nigerian poet, novelist, and literary critic. His works explore African traditions and how they sometimes contradict with Western values. His most popular work is The African Trilogy which includes the novels Things Fall Apart (1958), No Longer at Ease (1960) and Arrow of God (1964). He also published a short story collection titled Girls at War and Other Stories (1972) and a non-fiction work titled Africa’s Tarnished Name (1997).

Extract

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Message

The message of the story could be about the conflict between modernity and tradition. The plot explores how those who follow tradition do not want to conform to modernity, unless their customs are still respected. The ones who want to impose western values upon other people, have to take their tradition into consideration and make compromises. This is also highlighted by the use of the Igbo proverb, which stresses the importance of respecting someone’s beliefs, even when we might not agree with them...

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Dead Men's Path

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