Loyalty, Honesty And Trust In &Quot;The Conscience Of The Court&Quot;

1066 words - 4 pages

In Zora Hurston's, short story, "The Conscience of the Court", she explores the value of loyalty and honestly. She also examines how these qualities effect the way others can perceive an individual and the trust that these qualities enable others to convey towards those that express them. This text shows the loyalty that a black woman holds for her employer and the trust that the two share during a time of turmoil and general distrust of blacks by whites. "The Conscience of the Court" is unusual because it depicts an uneducated black woman triumphing over a white bigot in a situation and time period in which an unspoken rule places the law on the white man's side. Hurston expresses her own beliefs about the racial discrimination in this story, most clearly concerning the richness of family values and her lack of bitterness about being a person of color.

The main character of "The Conscience of the Court" is an older black woman that is on trial for assault against a white man. Laura Kimble faces the charges against her and the judge presiding over the case with the calm of a person in the hands of those that are trusted dearly. Laura was raised in a family that faithfully served a white one by the name of Beaufort. When she was a young child of five, she became the caregiver of the Beaufort's baby girl. Later when Laura started looking for a husband she chose a man from Savanna so that she could stay with her charge, Miz. Celestine. Later, when Celestine was grown and her husband had died, she chose to move to Jacksonville and move into a smaller home that better suited her needs. Although Laura's husband wanted to remain in Savannah in the house that Mr. Beaufort gave them as a wedding present, Laura wished to follow Celestine because of the loving bond they shared and the loyalty she felt towards her. Laura felt, even as an adult, that Celestine was her responsibility and that she needed to take care of her.

Laura felt so much trust towards Celestine that when Clement Beasley came to the door demanding compensation of an unpaid debt she stood her ground and kept her faith in the woman whom she had a life long bond. Her faith and loyalty towards Celestine caused her to defend her honor at the cost of putting her own freedom in jeopardy.

Laura's trust was placed not only in the hands of Celestine but also in the hands of the court system. When asked if she would like the court to appoint her a lawyer she declined the offer on the grounds that it would do no good. Laura knew she was uneducated in many things, law being one of them, and therefore if she was found guilty then the verdict must be correct, because the court knew more about he law than she could claim to know. She trusted these unknown white men to decide her fate fairly without even giving a thought to the possibility of receiving a prejudiced ruling. In fact Laura is content to sit quietly during...

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