A Jury of her Peers by Susan Glaspell Essay

A Jury of her Peers by Susan Glaspell Essay

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In Susan Glaspell’s, “A Jury of her Peers”, it is the women who take center stage and captivate the reader’s emotions. Throughout the feministic short story, which was written in 1917, several repeating patterns and symbols help the audience to gain a deeper understanding of the difficulty of prairie life for women and of the bond that women share. The incredible cunning the women in the story demonstrate provides insight into the innate independence that women had even during days of deep sexual discrimination. In “A Jury of her Peers”, the hardships women of the early twentieth century must endure and the sisterhood that they can still manage to maintain are manifested as a mysterious, small-town murder unfolds.

In the beginning of the story, Martha Hale leaves her house in half-disarray to meet with her husband, the county attorney, Mrs. Peters, and Mr. Peters, the county sheriff. The five travel up to the Wright household to investigate the murder of Mr. Wright. Mr. Hale explains to the county attorney that the previous day Mrs. Wright had told him in a shockingly matter-of-fact way that her husband was dead. She had said that he was strangled in their bed by a rope and that she was never awakened by any commotion. It is obvious from her odd laugh and the incoherence of her explanation of her husband’s death that something is emotionally wrong with her.

Immediately after Mr. Hale explains his story to the county attorney, the men leave to look around the house for more evidence. While alone together, the women start to talk to each other. Mrs. Hale comments that she would feel uncomfortable to have men roaming in her kitchen, but Mrs. Peters defends them. Her view of the men searching the house is more t...


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...box with the bird in it. The men enter with some condescending remarks toward the women to which neither Mrs. Hale nor Mrs. Peters remarks. The county attorney says that it seems pretty clear that Mrs. Wright is guilty but that he has failed to uncover any evidence that would explain any motive. The women do not mention that they have found the bird. They know that proof of motive is the most critical piece of evidence against Mrs. Wright and that when she is tried in court, she will not technically be judged by a group of her peers. Women are not allowed to vote and, therefore, cannot be members of a jury. If the court does establish a motive, Mrs. Wright will surely be convicted by a group of chauvinistic men. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters know the motive but decide to take the law into their own hands and, in doing so, demonstrate both autonomy and fellowship.

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