Susan Glaspell's Jury of Her Peers and James Tiptree Jr.'s Mama Come Home

Susan Glaspell's Jury of Her Peers and James Tiptree Jr.'s Mama Come Home

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Susan Glaspell's Jury of Her Peers and James Tiptree Jr.'s Mama Come Home

“Jury of Her Peers” and “Mama Come Home” are two very different stories but yet they still are very much alike. The authors even have their own similarities and differences. Both authors are women, James Tiptree Jr. is a pseudonym for Alice Sheldon, who are writing from the feminist perspective. “Jury of Her Peers” was written by Susan Glaspell in 1917 and “Mama Come Home” was written in 1968. The characters in each story make some kind of change in the way they act, both show the feminist views that they believe in, and also each story takes place in a different time period with different groups in dominance.

In both the Glaspell and Tiptree stories one or more of the main characters make some kind of change. In “Jury of Her Peers” the two women that go to the Wright house with their husbands begin the story wondering what would ever possess Mrs. Wright to kill her husband. The women entered the house with the purpose to pick up a few things that Minnie Wright had requested from her prison cell. The longer the women are in the house, while their husbands are looking around, the more they find out about the state of mind of Minnie Wright. They find plenty of evidence of the change in Minnie’s attitude toward her husband and her life. The change in the way she was making her quilt shows that she was frustrated with her life or her husband. Later they find the dead canary and decide that Mr. Wright killed the bird and then Mrs. Wright killed her husband in his sleep with a rope. Mrs. Wright mentally changed with the death of her husband, and the bird and the two women changed their attitude toward Minnie after they find the evidence. In “Mama Come Home” a group of female aliens called Capellans come down to Earth. Tillie is a C.I.A. agent that had been raped recently and was having a hard time around men. Tillie looks exactly like the aliens except for the height difference. Tillie likes staying with the Capellan women because they make her feel protected due to their size. For most of the time that they are here she spends almost all of her time with them.

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But she changes her attitude when one of her coworkers, that is also a friend, gets raped by one of the Capellan women. Once this happens she changes her mind about the Capellans and helps formulate a plan on how to get rid of them.

In each story the authors express their feminist views but they express them in somewhat different ways. In “Jury of Her Peers” Susan Glaspell expresses her view pretty much outright. She shows the believed inferiority of the women when they only bring them along to get the things for Minnie. The men make all matter of fun at the women when they discuss how Minnie was making the quilt. They also make fun of Minnie wanting her preserves to be checked and that she wanted her apron. The men overlook the women, and while the men were looking around the women found the real evidence. Since in the eighteen hundreds women could not vote no women would have been on the jury if Minnie Wright was tried. Susan Glaspell makes this fact pretty clear. In “Mama Come Home” the beliefs of the author are not as straight forward as in “Jury of Her Peers”. Since Tiptree’s story is science fiction it is a little harder to pick out what the
author is trying to tell you. In “Mama Come Home” the women aliens are the dominant ones of the group which is quite a change for the inhabitants of Earth who are used to a more or less male dominated society. Since in our society the men are labeled as the sex fiends we do not believe that the female Capellans would do something like they did. The Capellan women have the complete opposite jobs and responsibilities than the women in our society today.

In the two stories the place in different time periods with a different setting and with a different group in dominance. “Jury of Her Peers” takes place in the Midwest sometime in the eighteen hundreds. In the story Mr. Hale and Mr. Peters and the county attorney are looking for evidence against a women that was accused of murdering her husband. The men make fun of Mrs. Wright wanting the other two women to check her preserves and wanting her apron saying, “women are used to worrying about trifles”(Glaspell 265). This statement shows how the men look down upon the women. Also “there’s a great deal of work to be done on a farm” and most of it was done by women in the house (Hedges 95). In this story the men are clearly the dominant group and have made the women believe that they are inferior. The reason the women do not tell the men that they found the evidence against Minnie was that they believed that she would not get a fair trial because juries were formed from the voting registration and in that time women could not vote. “Mama Come Home” takes place around our time period as opposed to the eighteen hundreds. In “Mama Come Home” the aliens that come down are eight feet tall and they are much larger than the Capellan men. The women of Capella are the dominant group and the men have all of the jobs that the women usually have. The women captain the ship and are the diplomats of their planet. They came to Earth and tricked us into letting them take some men with them. It turns out that the Capellans use the men as sex slaves because they have run out of men on their planet. Once again the inhabitants of Africa sell their fellow countrymen into slavery, and they sell them to the Capellans.

“Mama Come Home” shows us that even though in our society today there are the dominants and the supposedly inferior, and when we must we will all pull together to fight a common enemy. This is what makes America great. Our diversity can be bridged in a time of need.
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