A Jury of Her Peers Analysis
InA Jury of Her Peersby Susan Glaspell, the story revolves around the sudden death of John Wright. There are five characters that participate in the investigation of this tragedy. Their job is to find a clue to the motive that will link Mrs. Wright, the primary suspect, to the murder. Ironically, the ladies whose duties did not include solving the mystery, were the ones who found the clue to the motive. Even more ironic, Mrs. Hale, whose presence is solely in favor of keeping the sheriff s wife company, could be contributed the most to her secret discovery. In this short story, Mrs. Hales character plays a significant role to Mrs. Wrights retribution in that she has slight feelings of accountability and also her discovery of the clue to the motive.
This story takes place in a time when men were considered dominant to women, so much so that men were almost god-like. This ironic because, the men fail to see key evidence that was important to their investigation. Their superficial egotistic mindset blinded them from seeing a number of clues, but the women are able to see the truth and better understand what happened.
The canary was like Minnie Wright Just as John Wright strangled the canary and killed its voice, he silenced Minnie Wright by slowly strangling her. "She was kind of like a bird herself." "Wright wouldn't like the bird....a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that too." (Page 15) The women hid evidence by pocketing the dead canary. Throughout history, women have been compared to birds in cages. They were viewed as pretty ornamental objects and their concerns as no great significance.
The door of the bird cage was violently torn off, indicating tremendous anger and violence of an explosive nature. The theme of the explosive violence Minnie Wright lived with is also symbolized by the bursting of her preserve jars due to extreme cold. One jar remained intact as a small indicator of hope. The cage imprisoned the bird. Minnie Wright was imprisoned in her abusive marriage and in her isolated home. During the story she is imprisoned in jail, a cage.
Quilting is traditional American women's work. From bits and pieces, women sew together blankets, which provided warmth for their beds and their homes. From bits and pieces, the women quilt together the story of what happened to Minnie Wright and what she finally did to John Wright. The women speculated as to whether Minnie was going to knot or quilt the final blanket. Knotting is a faster, more utilitarian method of sewing than the in - and- out stitching of traditional quilting. In learning to knot her quilt, Minnie also learned how to knot the rope that strangled her abusive husband. The method of killing resembled a legal hanging. The women found a quilt piece that was created with extremely agitated stitches. Martha Hale "replaced bad sewing with good," thereby destroying evidence.
The men refer to the women as Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Hale, and Mrs. Peters. To the men, the women have no separate identities but are identified only through the husbands to whom they are married. Martha Hale's independence is indicated from the first by the use of her first name. Gradually in the story, the name Mrs. Wright changed to Minnie Wright, and finally to Minnie Foster. This symbolization was continually changing, and showed the reader that Minnie was slowly becoming her own person.
In summary, the character of Mr. Hale played a critical role in the fate of Mr. Wright in two ways: One, she unlocks the motive that connects John Wright to his murder, and she also starts to assume some responsibility for the actions taken by Mrs. Wright.