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The North Wind and the Sun by Aesop and The Dead Men’s Path by Chinua Achebe Essay

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2020

People are free to use a wide range of strategies for influencing the opinion of others, ranging from negotiating and providing weighty arguments to using force and inducement. The short stories The North Wind and the Sun by Aesop and The Dead Men’s Path by Chinua Achebe show that persuasion and peaceful measures can be more effective than inducement and force.

The strength of persuasion is one of the central themes of the two short stories under analysis. Demonstrating the ineffectiveness of using the force for inducing the characters to do something, the authors offer persuading as an alternative which allows achieving the goals without violating the rights of other people or interfering with their free will. Aesop’s expression of the concepts of persuasion and force is allegoric.

The North Wind which blows with all his might tries to induce the traveler to take off his clothes, while the Sun which shines with all his warmth “persuades” the man. Michael Obi, the main character of Achebe’s story ignored the traditions of the village to which he was appointed as a headmaster of the school and preferred using inducement to achieve his goals.

“The whole purpose of our school … is to eradicate just such beliefs as that” (Achebe 73). The plot of the story shows how wrong this assumption is and how harmful the use of force can be. Aesop and Achebe developed the themes of force and persuasion in their short stories, showing the uselessness and ineffectiveness of violence.

Aesop and Achebe used various language means for stimulating readers to come to a conclusion that persuasion is much better than force. The contradiction of the strategies which were chosen by Aesop’s allegoric characters can be seen even in the contrast of the two characteristics: the Wind uses all his might, in other words, implements the force, while the Sun uses all his warmth, in other words, the personal strength of persuasion. The intention of the Wind cannot be successful because it is illogical and lacks reasoning.

The traveler would never guess that he was expected to take of the clothes because of the blowing wind, no matter how strong his blasts could be. The heat which was produced by the shining sun can be defined as a weighty argument for taking off the clothes. This argument appeared to be sufficient for persuading the wayfaring man who “took one garment after another and bathed in a stream that lay in his path” (Aesop 249).

The meaning of Achebe’s plot lines is rather symbolic as well. Discussing the issue of path in the village, the young headmaster and the priest actually talked about the opposition between the tradition and the new customs which the teacher was trying to establish by using strength. The similes and contrasts were used by Aesop and Achebe for defining the concept of persuasion.

Aesop and Achebe motivate their readers to use persuasion as a more effective strategy for reaching particular goals. The success of the Sun and failure of the Wind and Obi are vivid examples which speak for the effectiveness of persuasion and show its benefits. Showing the power of opposition to violence which becomes a significant hurdle for achieving the goals, the authors persuade the readers in senselessness of inducement.

The traveler wraps his cloak tighter around him, and the inhabitants of the village ruin the hedges, standing their ground and protecting their right for free will. Along with the power of opposition, the lack of reasoning can become a significant hurdle for achieving success by using strength. The explanation and reasoning as important elements of persuasion can produce the impression of reaching the consensus and making the best decision.

Touching upon the choice between persuasion and strength, Aesop in his The North Wind and the Sun and Achebe in his The Dead Men’s Path show the advantages of reasoning and negotiating for persuading the opponents instead of using strength and struggling against the power of opposition.

Works Cited

Achebe, C. African Short Stories. London: Harcourt Education. 2006. Print.

Aesop. Aesop’s Fables: Complete, Original Translation from Greek. Translated by George Townsend. Ohio: Forgotten Books. 2007. Print.

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