Analysis Of Conscience By Louisa Thomas

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Louisa Thomas’ book Conscience detailing the lives of her relatives leading up to and during World War I is a tale which reveals the effects that war and a changing era have on faith, loyalty, and a person’s conscience. While the plot is told in relation to the life of Norman Thomas, a man who began the war as a minister and ended it as a socialist and pacifist, the other characters are integral in relaying the central themes. Throughout the book, the reader can follow Norman Thomas’ changing point of view, the fluidity of his conscience in action. He was brought up under the morals of his father, a Presbyterian minister, but his education at Princeton under the guidance of Woodrow Wilson greatly influenced him as well. Norman Thomas did …show more content…
This makes it so that in Conscience, the most relatable character is in fact Norman Thomas. This could be because he is the figure whom is mentioned the most, however, his personality leads one to believe that it is because of the fluidity of his conscience. His morals are a constant struggle in this time of war and by the end, his beliefs are battered, both in socialism and Christianity. Still, he found socialism to be the best possible way of creating a better world and his faith in God remained, simply pushed to the back of his mind as he focused on political ideals. Norman Thomas would go on to run for president of the United States under the Socialist party six times. Louisa Thomas writes that, “[Norman] had not yet given up on Christianity altogether, still remembering the sense of God’s blessing. He still considered religion to be the basis for his pacifism, and he still talked about socialism as a kind of ethical Christianity.” One can relate to the many aspects of his morality. These traits make him inherently human, instead of a historical character viewed through the lens of a book, one can view him as the person he was.
This moral struggle also tells of Norman’s changing loyalty. First, he was wholly with his family and their ideals. Then, he mixed his family’s morals with his education. The line blurs even more from there- one could say that the only person who had his full loyalty at that point was God and even still, Norman’s loyalty did not remain entirely in His hands for much longer. His faith diminished and his loyalty was only to himself and his

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