Things Fall Apart

Describe the "fair and just" treatment the men found in the white man's prison.

Chapter 23

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In prison, Okonkwo and his colleagues are humiliated and beaten by the kotma, the African messengers of the court. Days pass. A clan meeting is called, and the clan decides to pay the fine of 250 bags of cowries. The fine was increased by the kotma, who will pocket the surplus. The theme of justice is one of the preoccupations of the novel. Throughout the book, we have seen Igbo justice in action. Igbo laws and traditions preserve order. Justice is impossible under the new system. The DC is completely ignorant of local ways, and he has no intention of learning about them; the different ideas of justice ensure conflict. The corruption of the system is also clear. The DC does not even speak the local language, giving the kotma ample room for trickery.