Yu Hsin, Chiang
Dead Men’s Path
This is a story about cultural conflict between modern ideas and traditional belief. Michael Obi has a great intention to enforce a high standard of education and to reform the school into the modern one; however, his misguided zeal made him fail to achieve the goal, and eventually led to the tribal-war situation developing between the school and the village. By connecting this story to the textbook, I would like to pinpoint some issues.
Firstly, as the story started, I noticed that Michael Obi’s wife had become completely infected by her husband’s passion for modern method. She told to Michael Obi, saying “we shall have such beautiful gardens and everything will be just modern and delightful”. This indicated that how a culture and beliefs can be such powerful for affecting someone.
Secondly, as the story goes on, the villagers stated that although the path is hardly used, it connects the village shrine with their place of burial. Here, we can understand the villagers have their own religion, and once someone is trying to do something bad for ancestors or to destroy their beliefs, they would fight without hesitation. On the other hand, the priest also stated how important the path toward this village, by saying that “It is a path for their ancestors to visit and for their children coming in…” Based on the villagers’ statements above, we can assume that their worldview belongs to metaphysical as well as religious worldview. Helve mentioned that “the worldview can be classified into three types—scientific, metaphysical and religious”. Metaphysical worldview is a worldview that predicated on what the believers hold to be sound theoretical and abstract reasoning devoid of an empirical base (p.75, paragraph 1, line 4), and the religious worldview has given people perception of the world. For the villagers, they believed that walking on the path is the way to get closer to their ancestors, which would protect the...
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