I think that Obi’s actions were a result of the “misguided zeal”. He had modern views and did not believe in the outdated thoughts of the villagers. His goal was to improvise the school and the village, in the near future. Obi prohibited the villagers from using the school compound as a path between the village shrine and the place of the burial. Although, the compound was hardly used, he closed the path between the two places. Through his actions, Obi tried to bring a sudden change in the rituals of the villagers.
Obi was keen on using his “modern methods” to make the school up to date for the young and energetic students. He wanted to implement high standard of teaching and have a beautiful garden in the school compound. And the new job position as a headmaster was an opportunity to enforce his contemporary thinking and make a successful job out of it. . In addition, to changing the school, he implemented his views over the antiquated villagers. Obi’s discourteous behavior with the priest disclosed his modern views. He was rude and mocked at the priest’s ideology of the ancestral footpath. He also said, “Our duty is to make your children laugh at such ideas.” By saying this, Obi was declaring his future goals of bringing a change in the archaic tradition of the villagers. Obi’s outspoken behavior brought more trouble and damage to the school than before. His attempt to modernize the school and the village, led to a dispute between the school and the villagers. A small issue about the ancestral footpath resulted in a massive damage to the school. The villagers became offensive due to the restriction over using the ancestral path, and ruined the school campus. They broke the fences, trampled the flowers and destroyed one of the school buildings.
Hence, by preventing the villagers from using their ancestral path, Obi challenged the ancient beliefs of the villagers. His outspoken behavior and imprudent actions made the villagers offensive about the changes that Obi was trying to make in the village.