The Effect of European Values on the African Society
Dead Men's Path is written by Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian who has grown
up with European customs effecting traditional African society. In
this short story he explores these effects on African society.
The story follows Michael Obi, a young headmaster recently appointed
headmaster of Ndume Central School. Obi is a very desirable man and
wanted to turn the backward school into a modern, successful school.
He is completely against traditional views of older Africans and does
not hesitate to condemn their views. He expects nothing but true
dedication from his unmarried staff and he sets work on making the
school compound into a beautiful place. There is a path which connects
the village shrine with the villager's place of burial. Obi is shocked
by this and immediately plants heavy sticks across the path.
A few days later he is confronted by a village priest who had heard
about the blockage of the path. Obi remains stubborn and does not
remove the sticks. A few days later Obi awakes to find that his
beautiful compound has been destroyed, every hedge has been torn up,
every flower has been trampled on and even one of the school buildings
has been pulled down. On this day the school inspector comes and
writes a bad report.
Obi had put all his efforts to make the school marvellous and
beautiful. Still, one morning, Obi woke up among the ruins of his
work. He was influenced by European customs and he disrespected the
views of the villagers and for this he paid the ultimate price.
Snapshots of a Wedding is written by a South African, Bessie Head.
Neo is a well educated girl but is arrogant. She is pregnant and the
father Kegoletile is also the father of another woman's baby, Mathata.
Mathata is a completely uneducated housemaid but despite this she has
much better manners than Neo. Kegoletile has a choice to marry one or
the other and of course he chooses Neo. In this culture a good wife is
seen to be a wife with good manners and therefore Mathata should be
the obvious choice. Neo's relatives recognise that he has chosen Neo
so that he and her may become rich in no time.
The aunts on both sides are the representation of tradition and
modernity in the story. Kegoletile's aunts' representing the culture
and what is lost. They demonstrate the importance of manners and
tradition in the culture. " 'That girl has no manners!' the relatives
would remark. 'What's the good of an education if it goes to someone's
head so badly they have no respect for the people? Oh, she is not a
The African wedding is quite similar to our...