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Gender Roles in Susan Glaspell's A Jury Of Her Peers and Trifles

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Gender Roles in Susan Glaspell's A Jury Of Her Peers and Trifles

Twentieth century society places few stereotypical roles on men and women. The men are not the sole breadwinners, as they once were, and the women are no longer the sole homemakers. The roles are often reversed, or, in the case of both parents working, the old roles are totally inconsequential. Many works of literature deal with gendered roles and their effect on society as a whole or on an individual as a person. "A Jury Of Her Peers" and Trifles, both written by Susan Glaspell, are works of literature that deal with socially gendered roles during the early nineteenth century. The two works are almost exactly alike in that the dialogue from "A Jury Of Her
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Wright's life in their hands to do with what they will. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale find the evidence needed to convict Minnie Wright and they suppress it. They were women who understood the plight of loneliness and the death of a beloved pet. Mrs. Hale understood that Mr. Wright was a hard man to live with and she knew that he had not only killed Mrs. Wright's bird but he had also killed the real Minnie Foster, the girl she had been. The men in the story, Sheriff Peters, Mr. Hale, and the young unmarried County Attorney, see only surface things. They believe that the motive for John's murder lies in the bedroom or in the barn. The men flounder around ignorantly searching for something they will never find because they can not think as Minnie Wright did. If the women had told them about the discovery of the dead bird, they would probably laugh and say that the women needed to go back to their quilting and their jellies. The ragged and uneven sewing that suggests a misplaced state of mind in Minnie Wright would also have been laughed at. The men wanted to find something concrete that would easily convince an all male jury but they never would. To men, dead canaries are dead canaries, they would never read into it what Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Wright did.

The gap between husband and wife is made even more apparent through dialogue. The men hear that Mrs. Wright was worrying about her preserves, and they laugh at her saying that she should be
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