In the story, “A Jury of Her Peers,” by Susan Glaspell, we see how women are subjugated to stereotypical gender roles, where men are superior over women. The two main characters, Mrs. Peters and Martha Hale arrive at the Wright residence, with the men to investigate the crime scene. Minnie Foster-Wright has been arrested for allegedly strangling her husband with a rope. Mr. Hale (Martha’s husband), is a witness, who found Minnie sitting in a rocker and her husband dead upstairs. The attorney general, Mr. Henderson asks Mr. Hale and the sheriff, Mr. Peters to help him investigate the crime and explain what he had seen that day. As the men go upstairs and into the barn to investigate, Martha and Mrs. Peters are left in the kitchen to gather
A story of murder, fear, and the temptation of betrayal is one that easily snatches up the attention of audiences. In “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell, the author uses her southern female characters to emphasize the direct relationship between friendship and connection. Her plot circles around the disastrous discovery of their fellow housewife’s marital murder, and the events that unfolded causing their ultimate decision in prosecuting or shielding her from the men in the story. The author implements revealing dialogue with subtle detailing and glaring symbolism to display the coveted friendships among women above other relationships and that the paths they take to secure them stem from inveterate personal connections.
Susan Glaspell is a thought-provoking exemplar of an authentic early feminist writer, “born in 1882 in Davenport, Iowa.” (Learner) She grew up in a small, conservative, middle-class town in the Midwest, which had a powerful influence on her. Her evolution from regional focused compositions to modernism was made possible and achieved by her geographical relocation to the east coast. Following her graduation “from Drake University” (Learner) she found there to be copious boundaries and restraints for women in the work place. She expressed her resentment of these boundaries, and promoted the feminist movement in her fictional and dramatic writings in many arenas: novels, journalism, short stories, and plays. Her most notorious, profound, and controversial writing was the play Trifles, which is equaled only in magnitude and weightiness by the novel Fidelity. Glaspell use of sympathetic female characters was a brilliant way to advocate contemporary feminist issues.
Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” was wrote in the early nineteenth century. This was also the era that women found it very difficult to stand out and become recognized for being a successful and intelligent individual. Women were mere objects being banished to the kitchen and forced to serve their husbands and families with a smile on their face. “A Jury of Her Peers” distinctively points out how the clues of a murder mystery is solved through the eyes of a woman. The sources listed below are helpful in relating the story to the era it was wrote in and how poorly women were treated.
The U.S. saw the rise of the many groups during the Progressive Era which began in 1890 and continued through 1920. Specifically, there was social activism associated with the women during this time period. This turn of the century was characterized by what are now considered great works of feminist literature. Examples of such are “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gillman and “A Jury of her Peers” by Susan Glaspell. Both short stories were written during this Progressive Era, during which feminism peaked. These two short stories are similar because they both present women within a patriarchal society but they differ in their presentation of sisterhood, process used to resist the patriarchy, and the political functions that take effect within.
When America branched out from England, we continued the mindset of men being the dominant and women being lesser. Slowly over the years, women have been fighting for a higher role in societies eyes. Susan Glaspell expressed how she felt about societies mindset on women in a short story “A Jury of Her Peers”. This story is about a woman, Minnie, who is accused of murdering her husband. A group of officials, a witness and their wives went to the crime scene to find evidence. While they are trying to piece together what had happened, Glaspell shows many different ways women were looked down upon, whether it was disguised in jokes, blatant statements, or just the men’s carelessness.
Susan Glaspell’s classic play, Trifles, recites the story of two simultaneous investigations of the murder of John Wright. The male characters consisting of Henry Peters, Lewis Hale, and George Henderson are conducting an official investigation whereas the women; Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are coordinating their own, more productive, investigation. Trifles, in an essence, is a murder mystery however, the play demonstrates a private, domestic, and female domain. Women were barely a part of the social role in the twentieth century. During this time they were thought only useful in the reproductive role that confined them to raising children and taking care of them as well as their household and husband. Therefore, Susan Glaspell being a writer during this time mostly produced pieces criticizing society’s
Susan Glaspell wrote the play Trifles and “A Jury of Her Peers”, both of them are intriguing murder mysteries. They are set in a time when women were looked down upon and weren’t seen as highly as men, they were seen as housewives and nothing more. Trifles and “A Jury of Her Peers” by Glaspell have essentially the same story, yet differ on the points of view.
In the mid-1900s, “A Jury of Her Peers” a short story that was written by Susan Glaspell, that combines murder, dishonesty, and sexism while revealing to readers the truth about women and their abilities. Glaspell’s writing perspectives was rich and dramatic. Glaspell executes gender differences to predict the women’s agitation. Glaspell paints a picture of what women had to go through, such as seclusion,
“Jury of her Peers,” by Susan Glaspell is a story of what can happen when a person is pushed too far. The protagonist, Minnie Wright, is an isolated and hopeless woman. She’s being held in jail, awaiting trial, after a neighbor found her in her home with her husband dead upstairs. A group of people arrive at the Wright house looking for evidence for a motive. Among the group is Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters who are here with their husbands. As the men go upstairs to investigate the crime scene, they are left to also look for evidence. Mrs. Hale starts to notice strange things, like sugar container being left open, and only half of the table being wiped down. As the women continue looking, with some interruption of their husbands, they also discover
Susan Glaspell’s "A Jury of Her Peers" is a view into the lives of farmer’s wives in the Midwest at the turn of the century. These women live in a male dominated world, where the men consider them incompetent and frivolous. The only identity they have is that associated with their husbands. They stay at the farmhouse to complete their repetitive and exhausting chores. The wives have little or no contact with the other people because of the distances between farms. Glaspell uses her female characters to rebel against the inequalities that women face and to prove that women are competent and when pushed too far --strike back. The male dominant society that is condescending, controlling, denies individuality, demands submission, and is abusive toward women, is a society that punishes and deprives itself. It is a society that is harmful and hurtful, not only to the women, but to the men as well.
On a cold northern morning the body of a man lay still in his bed. His blood did not flow, his heart did not beat, and his chest didn’t fall with breath. His wife sits still downstairs in the gloomy house that she views as a cage. Her stare is blank and her hands move slowly as if she is in some trance that shows absolutely no remorse. Minne Foster is guilty of murdering her husband which becomes apparent through the evidence and details given by Susan Glaspell in “A Jury of Her Peers”. Glaspell gives evidence and shows the realization that both women in the story also know that Mrs. Foster is guilty. Minnie Foster is guilty of murdering her husband, but a defense could be made to protect her.
The short story, “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell, sets out to provide insight as to how women were treated in early twentieth century society, moreover, to demonstrate how this treatment of women could push them to commit murder. The idea of inferiority was heavily present within this era’s society being that women were not seen as equal to their male counterparts. This time period was rich with feminist movements and overall the attempt of women to rise against their male oppressors. The presence of this gender inequality in the short story is what ultimately drives the women to defend the convicted Mrs. Wright. Although Mrs. Wright is accused of murder, she is in some sense pardoned by the other women because they can truly empathize
Women have lived for generations being treated as nothing more than simple-minded creatures who were able to do little more than take care of their husbands and maintain a home, but that idea is dangerous. The years of abusing women by withholding their rights, belittling them, and keeping them in the home was sometimes detrimental to not only the female sex, but to the males sex as well. Susan Glaspell is the author of the short play “Trifle” , in which Mrs. Wright, the housewife of a local farmer, is being investigated for the murder of her husband. As a local county attorney, sheriff, and male neighbor scour the house for motive and proof that Mrs. Wright killed her husband, the men spend much of their time criticizing the housekeeping skills of Mrs. Wright and belittling every woman in the play for their simplicity. Their assumptions about the female sex, prevents them from seeing the crime scene for what it really was. Meanwhile, Mrs. Peters, the sheriff’s wife, and Mrs. Hale, the neighbor man’s wife, are able to relate in many ways to the loneliness and loss of self that Mrs. Wright felt while spending her days alone tending to her home and husband.
Susan Glaspell was one of the first great American female playwrights. Her plays are often short, one or two acts, but they tell a story greater than just what appears on the page. Three of her plays, Trifles (1916), Women’s Honor (1918), and The Verge (1921), have feminist themes that show the consequences of the oppression of women, as is the case with many of her plays. All three plays were written during the first wave of feminism, during which there was a push for women to have jobs and opportunities and identities, ideas well represented in Glaspell’s plays. Glaspell’s plays show the struggle of being a woman during an era when women were trying to form their own identities. Through Glaspell’s use of feminist themes in Trifles, Women’s Honor, and The Verge, the social changes that women experienced in early twentieth century are explored as the women of her plays discover who they are and what they believe outside of what the patriarchy has determined.