Susan Glaspell 's A Jury Of Her Peers

1408 Words6 Pages
Growing up in Iowa in the 1800s and 1900s, Susan Glaspell took inspiration for many of her stories from personal experiences. As a former courthouse reporter herself, Glaspell’s short story “A Jury of Her Peers” is based largely on her involvement with a murder case and a kitchen she recalled investigating. “A Jury of Her Peers,” a rendition of her early play, Trifles, focuses on the homicide of an abusive husband by his wife. While the men investigating the case overlook the various signs of abuse, their wives work together to defend the widow. During this time period, sexism was a widely spread concept. Glaspell was a strong willed advocate of women’s rights, and promoted feminism throughout her life, oftentimes featuring this concept in…show more content…
She writes, “The men, all representatives of the Law (the sheriff, the prosecutor, and a witness), are oriented to a mechanistic view of legal propriety: they react to an action and look for the evidence to justify the retribution they wish to enact” (Bendel-Sismo 1). She then compares the beliefs of the men to women, whose views shift as they learn more about the murder and the reasons behind the widow’s actions. “Unlike the men, the women conclude that a different crime has been committed, and that the "crime" the men perceive is, in fact, justice being enacted. While the men see John Wright 's death as the point of departure for their investigation, the women see his death as closure; not the beginning, but the end, and as such their role is to protect Minnie Foster” (Bendel-Sismo 1). While the men in Glaspell’s story are quick to search for ways to convict Mrs. Wright, often overlooking details, their wives dig deeper to learn about the real reason behind her husband’s death. “‘Nothing here but kitchen things,’ he said, with a little laugh for the insignificance of kitchen things” (Glaspell 6). The critic concludes that the motives of the men and women while investigating the murder are a result of psychological differences differences of genders during this time period. She sums up her statement by saying, “While the women can seek Justice for other women, the men in charge of the case--by their very nature as men--can seek Justice only for men (their peers),
Get Access