In ‘‘Conscience of the Court,’’ as in many of her stories, Zora Neale Hurston creates a narrative framework that serves to raise broader questions about the notions of justice and altruism, particularly the legitimacy of the legal system and the consequences of serving one’s community. The character of Laura Lee illuminates these principles. She is, in many respects, the ‘‘conscience’’ of the court. Her lack of faith sparks the conscience of the judge, causing him to pause in shame over the circumstances of her arrest and renewing in him an interest in seeing justice...
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