Minnie Foster In Susan Glaspell's A Jury Of Her Peers

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In some works of literature, a character who appears briefly, or does not appear at all, is a significant factor that contributes to the overall plot development. Whether the character is a figure of the past or simply a bystander to the situation, their actions and observations can play a clear role in progression of the story. In Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers”, the character Minnie Foster is not actually present, but her previous actions and decisions present an external conflict that is displayed throughout the story. Minnie Foster is a woman who is under investigation for the murder of her husband, Mr. Wright. Two men and their wives travel to the scene of the crime to further examine the setting of the scene. Glaspell uses dialogue and internal thoughts of the other female characters to conclude that Minnie Foster had reasonable motives to kill her husband.
Martha Hale and Mrs. Peters, the sheriff’s wife, decide to stay downstairs in the home rather than following their husbands upstairs to the
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Hale and Mrs. Peters continue to unravel details that contribute to the investigation against Minnie Foster. Once the women get comfortable in their search, they discover a beautiful quilt box in the front room. After further evaluation, they realize that Minnie Foster found peace in quilting. Mrs. Peters reveals that one of the stitches is terribly messed up. The two question Minnie Foster’s error and the surrounding circumstances until they realize that the quilt is just another piece of evidence. “Their eyes met – something flashed to life, passed between them.” As the investigation continues, the women find that, like the quilting, Minnie Foster found peace in her canary. The women remember how Minnie Foster sang with the bird to feel whole. When Mrs. Peters uncovers the battered bird cage while Mrs. Hale finds the dead canary, the women realize that there may have been a final incident that changed the course of the Wright family

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