Analysis of A Municipal Report By O. Henry and A Jury of Her Peers By Susan Glaspell
In A Municipal Report by O. Henry and A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell are stories that the authors provide two different cases of murder in which, in both stories, the evidence is destroyed. Even though both stories provide common plot features, they are very different. A Municipal Report is simply used for entertaining the reader, while A Jury of Her Peers produces characteristics of real life.
In A Municipal Report O. Henry tells the story in a first person point of view thru a man by the name of William Sydney Porter under the identity of O. Henry. The author states, I stepped off the train at 8 P.M. (376.4), lets us know that he is the one telling the story. Described below is the characterization of Azalea Adair, Caesar and Caswell: Azalea Adair is represented as a poor woman (382.58-59, 61), even though she was poor, she still offered the reporter a cup of tea and sugar cake (384.69). Her hospitality shows that she is a good character with no bad intentions. Our next character is Caesar, which was also known as King Cettiwayo, was thoughtful and well-dedicated servant of the family (385.81-84). In his old age he still worked and provided income as coach of a carriage. The next character is Caswell who was selfish and a stealer. The reporter states, I have seen few men whom I have so instantaneously hated (386.89) tells us that this character is un-liked and a nuisance but yet has money. We cant forget about the narrator (the reporter) who plays an important role of the story. The narrator realizes that Caswell was a thief when he overhears Uncle Caesar and Miss Azalea conversation on how Caswell takes the two dollars from her. The narrator started putting two and two together. The first thought was the fight with Azaleas little hire girl, deep, gruff tones of an angry mans voice mingled with the girls further squeals and unintelligible words (385.73). The dollar bill that Caswell has when they are at the bar, is the same bill that he gave to Uncle Caesar, that Miss Azalea gave to the hire girl. This is a key point to the story that leads us to think that Miss Azalea was financially supported by Uncle Caesar. Eventually the dollar bill was stolen by Caswell. Seeing Miss Azalea was a poor woman, the reporter gives her fifty dollars, which Caswell steals again and showing off this money (388.111). We notice that in this story the reporter repeats several times of the dollar having a strip of blue paper, pasted over the split, preserved its negotiability (382.55, 384.71, 386.90).
The reporter stubbles upon a button that looked very similar to the one that is on Uncle Caesar coat, which was describe as the size of a half-dollar, made of yellow horn and sewed on with coarse twine (380.33) that coincidently falls out of the hand of Caswell upon his death. This is another very important detail to the story that ties Caswell to his stealing and death. At the end of the story, the reporter takes the button and gets rid of the evidence . Its obvious that the reporter is involved in every situation that happens in this story. Through the way the story was presented this would not happen in real life. This story is plainly for entertainment.
In A Jury of Her Peers is told from a third person point of view of Mrs. Martha Hale. Mrs. Hale starts setting this story by stating, the countrys not very pleasant this time of year (390.6) for it looked very lonesome this cold marching. It had always been a lonesome-looking place (390.7). Mrs. Hale regrets not visiting Mrs. Wright, I wish I had come over sometimes when she was here. I wish-I had (402.196). She also goes through Mrs. Wright belongings, moving and adjusting things throughout the house which is unlawful. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are continuously thinking if it was impossible for Mrs. Wright to murder. For example, when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters were looking at the quilt and analyzing the stitches, Mrs. Peters stated, What do you suppose she was-nervous about? (401.175) Oh, I dont know, said Mrs. Hale (401.176). The expression of I dont know was stated numerous times throughout the story by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. Mrs. Hale is a woman who likes a clean house. When see sees Mrs. Wrights kitchen she states, what her eye took in was that her kitchen was in no shape for leaving (389.1) for it bothered Mrs. Hale when things were unfinished. Mrs. Peters stated, She-come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself, real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and-fluttery. How-she-did change (403.28) was a comparison she made between Mrs. Wright and the bird, like we humans often do. Mrs. Peter is the wife of the sheriff who respects the law becomes confused and doesnt know what to believe. In this story, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are trying to figure out the motives of the murder. Mrs. Hale was looking for scissors and finds a pretty box with the bird inside. When they see the bird they notice that its neck was to one side, its broken. Mrs. Peters stated, Someone wrung its neck (404.226) and realized that John Wright was strangled by rope around his neck. Neither ladies reported this evidence to the sheriff. It was the small details that lead Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peter to solving the mystery. These statements show the reality of what a person really thinks. The characters in this story reveal more emotional qualities like the way the men would make comments on how women wouldnt know how to notice evidence related to the murder. For example, But would the women know a clue if they did come upon it (396.102). They also criticize the way the kitchen looked. These actions are very real on how they behave in this story that can relate to reality of like. The men of the story really didnt have a true purpose. They were coming and going from the kitchen, to the bedroom and out to the barn, then back retracing their steps. They really didnt inspect those small things that only women would understand and know.
In conclusion, A Municipal Report and A Jury of Her Peers both was a murder mystery with O. Henrys story set for entertaining with no true meaning and Susan Glaspell had a trueness of life with a point of view that relates to human life.