A Jury by Her Peers authored by Susan Glaspell narrates the investigative events that occur after the death of John Wright in his house. As neighbors and the Dickson County administration, themes of sisterhood and gender roles appear through the actions and hidden motives of the characters. The book, A Jury by Her Peers, expounds on the silent suffering of women and being perceived as unintelligent while providing justifications for covering up of John Wrights death. Three women, Minnie Wright, Martha Hale, and Mrs. Peters express sisterhood by hiding of incriminating evidence such as the dead bird while the men fail to prove of her complicity. This essay focuses on themes of sisterhood and gender roles, and the passiveness that manifests in the process of gathering evidence.
The theme of Sisterhood.
As the plot unfolds to ascertain the murder of John Wright, Mrs. Hale says, “it looked very lonesome this cold morning, it had always been a lonesome place” (Glaspell, 1992), while referring to the house of Minnie Wright. The hidden meaning is the lack of affection and passion that exists between a husband and the wife. Since their marriage more than 20 years ago, lack of sisterhood and interaction between Minnie Wright and her neighbors leads to her isolation. The miser nature John Wright sows discord and lack of trust with his wife leading to a loveless marriage. Sisterhood would manifest by sharing of sorrows among the women and assisting each other to avoid
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Why must women go through this? Women have suffered the fate of being held second class by most men for ages. Throughout times women’s rights that have come around and are better, but there are still many trials they must go through today. People watch every day as women get put down by men and even other women at times that say, “that’s just how things are.” When will these types of false accusations based off stereotypes come to an end?
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are here today to discuss the murder of John Wright. On November 15, Mr. Wright was found in his bed with a rope around his neck, presumably strangled to death. His body was discovered by his wife supposedly and did not bother to notify to the local authorities. At eight o'clock in the morning, Mr. Hale went to look for Mr. Wright and found Minnie, Mr. Wright’s wife, sitting in a rocking chair inside of the house. Mr. Hale asked Minnie for her husband and she stated that John Wright was dead in the bedroom.
It is known that loneliness sometimes makes us senseless. In Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of her Peers” loneliness made Minnie Foster irrational. Mrs. Hale assumes that Mrs. Wright is guilty of killing her husband because of her nonchalant answers she gives when being interrogated about her husband’s location. During the story the reader will learn more about Mrs. Wright, or Minnie Foster, and how her personality changed drastically through her twenty years of marriage with John while Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are covering up the tracks that they presume led to murder. They conclude that loneliness made her lose herself which is evident throughout the short story.
The short story A Jury of Her Peers, written by Susan Glaspell, clearly demonstrates fear and its control within characters throughout the story. The main character, Minnie Foster, a lovely young woman who sang in the choir and known as a very open person. However, once she got married, she became much quieter. The two other women in the story, one of whom know Minnie, uncover some evidence that would incriminate Minnie for the murder of her husband. The women find out that Minnie’s husband treats Minnie poorly and may have physically hurt Minnie as well.
Minnie’s quilt, the dead bird and its cage, and the kitchen show that living in a man’s world is not easy. In the end, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale recognize that they too have experienced the same loneliness and mistreatment that led Mrs. Wright to murder her husband. The men don't value the women in this story and they don't see them as being very intelligent either. It is for this reason “A jury of her peers” is created. Peers being the women themselves as they stand up, united against the subjugation they have all experienced.
As a senior, I chose to take composition two at Countryside High School in my last semester. I previously finished composition one and looked forward to enhance my comprehension of shorty stories and poems in composition two. I also wanted to receive dual enrollment credit for ENC1102 for my future education. Mr. Leo, my professor, taught the class in depth information on short stories by discussing the theme and symbols of the writings however, one short story in particular stood out to me that I will profoundly remember for years to come. Five years from now, I know I will remember the short story “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell due to its meaningful symbolization and the overall irony.
The story opens with Mrs. Wright imprisoned for strangling her husband. A group, the mostly composed of men, travel to the Wright house in the hopes that they find incriminating evidence against Mrs. Wright. Instead, the two women of the group discover evidence of Mr. Wright’s abuse of his wife. Through the women’s unique perspective, the reader glimpses the reality of the situation and realizes that, though it seemed unreasonable at the time, Mrs. Wright had carefully calculated her actions. When asked about the Wrights, one of the women, Mrs. Hale, replies “I don’t think a place would be a cheerful for John Wright’s being in it” (“A Jury of Her Peers” 7).
Hale can be described as a leader which is a quality that Mrs. Peters does not possess. After discovering the dead bird, the women both decide to not inform the men of their discovery. When the men come back downstairs, the discover the empty birdcage. The county attorney asks the women if “ the bird has flown” (1119). Mrs. Hale quickly replies with “we think the—cat got it” (1119).
Do you know that most women who are in prison for murder are there because they killed their husband or boyfriend? In Susan Glaspell’s story “A Jury of Her Peers,” two women follow their husbands and an attorney to the home of the Wright’s where the farmer, John Wright, who was hanged to death by a rope in the bedroom. It is to believe that Minnie Foster Wright was the one to cause the murder of her husband as the men try to find clues to the cause of the crime, but what if Mrs. Wright was the victim that caused her to commit the murder? Although Mrs. Wright did kill Mr. Wright, she is not entirely responsible for it by the fact she is “merely the arm of justice ( Bendel-Simso).” The isolation and loneliness in her home, the domestic violence from her husband, and the loss of her pet canary
In the story, Mrs. Hale often recalls Minnie Wright as being a joyful girl who loved to sing, much like the songbird. Then they found that the songbird had its neck wrung by who they presumed was John Wright. Mrs. Peters then recalls a similar act of cruelty done to her by a neighborhood boy killing her kitten, she states, “If they hadn’t held me back I would have hurt him.” (679) The cruel act symbolizes how he had treated Minnie throughout the years that they had been married.
In Susan Glaspell's play “Trifles,” there is a difference between the men and women’s way of perceiving evidence to Mr. Wright’s murder case. The men spend most of their time searching for solid evidence upstairs where Mr. Wright's murder takes place. However, the women spend most of their time in Mrs. Wright’s kitchen. Instead of seeking tangible evidence, they inspect the condition of the items and acknowledge how they have been muddled around. Different perspectives lead to a variety of discoveries such as the women’s way of perceiving evidence.
Talking about Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters “the two characters begin to reconstruct the accused woman’s life. They do so through several means; memories of her, memories of their own lives (similar to hers in many ways), and speculation about her feelings and responses to the conditions of her life” (Holstein 283.) The two women immediately placed themselves in Minnie Wrights position. And while reconstructing Mrs. Wright life based on their own memories and emotions they acknowledge the murders missing clue “Minnie’s dead pet bird” (Holstein
He killed that too”, which is an exact representation of how women were inferior, muted, and defused (“A Jury of Her Peers 1643). Because the women felt so inferior to the men, they never spoke up when they found the dead bird which explained that Minnie Foster was the murder of John Wright. Another reason for this action was that Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters felt united as women due to their social status and situation. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale chose to hide the dead bird and not to disclose the actual murder clues and details they found as it was their moral duty as
The scene begins to unfolds in their minds. Mr. Wright yanking open the cage door, taking out the bird, and breaking its fragile neck was enough to make Mrs. Wright lash out, and in a heat of passion, kill her husband. As the trifles collect, the women worry that the men will see their findings, and have what they need to prove Mrs. Wright guilty. Though the men believe her to be the murderer, the women are trying their best to hide the evidence that will prove it.