The Conscience of the Court, by Zora Neale Hurston

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“The Conscience of the Court” written by Zora Neale Hurston explores the life of a courtroom in the late nineteenth century. Laura Lee Kimble is a strong, loyal, and humble African American woman. Laura has a close connection with Mrs. Clairborne, her close friend and employer, and is loyal to their friendship. This friendship and loyalty is so strong that Laura refused to leave Mrs. Clairborne three times even when her husband asked if they could live somewhere with more money. Clement Beasley, the plaintiff, claims that Mrs. Clairborne borrowed money from him to purchase furnishings for her house; however, when the payment for this money was owed Mrs. Clairborne did not pay him back. Mr. Beasley decides to show up at the house to take…show more content…
As the point of view switches to Laura’s thoughts, emotions, and comment it provides a strong support to the central idea. Laura first takes a stance against injustice and racism when she declines to answer guilty or not guilty. She states, “‘Deed I don’t know if I’m guilty or not. I hit the man after he hit me to be sure Mister Judge, but if I’m guilty I don’t know for sure.” (Hurston, pg. 341) Laura makes the stand against injustice because of the crimes she has been accused of and to fight the ideas that she would do any of the crimes because of her ethnicity. The setting of the story takes place very specific in the location; however, the time of case is not specific. The setting takes place in Jackson, Florida and is believed to be during the late nineteenth century. Laura talks about once living in Savannah, Georgia when she first met Mrs. Clairborne; however, after Mrs. Clairborne’s husband died they all moved together to Florida. Both the location and speculated time contribute to the central idea because of the United States history during that era and within the southern states. With the battles of slavery, property, and rights many African American people had to stand up against injustice and racism to break the ideas that people had towards their ethnicity. Zora Hurston has become a well known author because of the stories that she has written. Her stories are well known, like the “Opportunity”, because they are,

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