Susan Glaspell 's A Jury Of Her Peers

999 WordsJul 13, 20164 Pages
From beginning to end, Susan Glaspell’s 1917 short story “A Jury of Her Peers,” has several repetitive patterns and symbols that help the reader gain a profound understanding of how hard life is for women at the turn-of-the-century, as well as the bonds women share. In the story two women go with their husbands and county attorney to a remote house where Mr. Wright has been killed in his bed with a rope and he suspect is Minnie, his wife. Early in the story, Mrs. Hale sympathizes with Minnie and objects to the way the male investigators are “snoopin’ round and criticizin’ ” her kitchen. In contrast, Mrs. Peters, the Sheriffs wife, shows respect for the law, saying that the men are doing “no more than their duty”. However, by the end of the story Mrs. Peters unites with Mrs. Hale in a conspiracy of silence and concealing evidence. What causes this dramatic transformation? One critic, Leonard Mustazza, argues that Mrs. Hale recruits Mrs. Peters “as a fellow ‘juror’ in the case, moving the sheriff’s wife away from her sympathy for her husband’s position and towards identification with the accused woman” (494). Though this is true, Mrs. Peters also comes to her own understanding. What she sees in the kitchen led her to understand Minnie’s lonely plight as the wife of an abusive farmer. The first evidence Mrs. Peters reaches understanding on her own surfaces in the following passage: “The sheriff’s wife had looked from the stove to the sink to the pail of water which had been
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