Loyalty, Honesty and Trust in "The Conscience of the Court"
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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 foll...
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...e upbringing she learned an unusual trait of trusting others. For Laura, her trust was deserved because the judge did his job to ensure a fair trial and because he treated her with compassion and understanding, walking her through the trail so that she could understand the proceedings.
Because of Laura's compassionate nature and complete trust in those around her she was able to gain the compassion of the judge. His compassion enabled her to have a fair trial that most colored people would not have received at this time if they were facing a white prosecutor. Laura's loyalty was also a key determinate in her case because through her stories and memories the judge was able to gather enough information regarding her character to determine that Laura was not a violent person and that she was only acting in the interest of her employer and life long companion.