The Umuofian Justice System

The Umuofian Justice System

Fair's Fair


What is “fair”? How do we decide what a just or equitable consequence is?

Read “Fair’s Fair.” Then answer the following questions.

  • Which option would you choose and why?
  • Would your answer change if the boys weren’t friends? If cell phones weren’t prohibited in school? If Jamie hadn’t been insulting Andrew, but instead Andrew had grabbed the bag unprovoked? If Andrew had known the cell phone was in the bag?
  • Have you ever been treated unfairly or seen someone treated unfairly? Why did you feel the treatment was unfair?
  • When thinking about fairness, what matters most—punishing the person who did wrong, making amends to the victim, preventing further wrongdoing? Explain.
  • How do we decide what’s fair, and who gets to make that decision? What gives someone the right to decide on justice or consequences?

Open Notebook

Share your responses with your classmates. How would you say you and your classmates decide what’s fair?

Wrongdoing in Things Fall Apart

Work Time

What have we learned about Umuofian ideas of fairness?

With your classmates and teacher, briefly review the following incidents from Things Fall Apart. Each is an example of some kind of wrongdoing, which is followed in the novel by some kind of resolution (for example, punishment or restoration).

  • In Chapter 2, an Umuofian woman was killed in Mbaino.
  • In Chapter 4, Ojiugo angered Okonkwo by not cooking his meal.
  • In Chapter 4, Okonkwo broke the peace in the Week of Peace by beating Ojiugo, his third wife.
  • In Chapter 5, Okonkwo gets angry at Ekwefi, his second wife, because he thinks she has killed his banana tree.
  • In Chapter 5, Okonkwo gets angry at Ekwefi because she insults him.
  • In Chapter 10, Uzowulu and Odukwe have a dispute about Mgbafo. Odukwe says that his sister has been severely beaten, and Uzowulu is upset that his wife’s family has taken her back.

Umuofian Justice Review

Work Time

Choose one of the incidents to analyze in further detail.

Return to the chapter and consider the following:

  • Who was involved in the problem?
  • What was the “wrong” that was committed?
  • What were the motives and effects of this wrong?
  • Who decided on the resolution, and what were the effects of the resolution?
  • Finally, what principles are expressed through these decisions? What, or who, is valued?
  • Complete the Umuofian Justice Review to record your thoughts.

You Have a Choice
In this class, you will sometimes have a choice of how you want to complete your assignments. You can choose to complete this task independently, with a partner, or in a group.

Discussion Preparation

Work Time

In the next lesson, you will be participating in character in a discussion about Umuofian society. You will speak as your character, using the pronoun “I” and explaining your character’s perceptions and opinions.

At this time, your task is to prepare with your group members. Discussion Preparation 1 contains questions you may analyze in the first class discussion. For each question, write your answer from the point of view of your character . Then decide how you will back up your viewpoint. What evidence (quotations) can you find in the novel to support your character’s opinion? Finally, think about possible counterarguments: things others might say to refute your points. How would your character respond to these counterarguments?

  • Complete Discussion Preparation 1.
  • After you complete Discussion Preparation 1, list and answer any additional discussion questions that your group comes up with in your Notebook.

Open Notebook

If you finish, continue reading Things Fall Apart.

The Umuofian Justice System


Complete a Quick Write.

  • In your own words (not your character’s), describe the Umuofian justice system in three sentences or less. This should reflect your opinion, and should refer to specific events from the book.

Open Notebook

Things Fall Apart and Discussion Preparation


Read Chapters 11–13 of Things Fall Apart. Continue to add to your Personal Glossary as you read.

  • Prepare for the next lesson’s discussion.