The Unbalanced Scale between Men and Women
Over an extensive period of time, the issue concerning gender has “consistently occupy the media and the public mind.” (Correll 20). It has established beliefs about the roles of men and women as a whole. “A man is expected always to be strong, impervious to pain, and especially to emotional stress, dominant in the role of lord and master; a woman is expected to be docile, submissive, passive, fulfilled in the role of subordinate.” (Fremon 129). It has been concluded for the longest time that women are the inferior gender, biologically, psychologically and socially. For many people, it is normal for women to be gender typed and never realize the prejudices underlying into it. They are judged with no regards to their needs and abilities. This oftentimes causes pressure, apprehension, and a feeling of inferiority, toward themselves. Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” and John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums,” create a literary consciousness, showing how gender stereotyping causes impacts on women’s psyche.
Society has created an idea held as a standard for the majority especially about gender. It draws a bold line that separates the rights and capabilities between men and women. Comparable to Susan Glaspell’s, “A Jury of Her Peers”, the influence of her literary work hasn’t surfaced to the crowds’ immersion until her peers, women, rediscovered it among the vast number of literary works by men. Her story “makes the point that women have not been perceived as the peers of men and therefore their work has not been evaluated with the respect automatically given to that of male authors.” (Rollyson).
In Glaspell’s story, there was a discrete representation on the roles men and women should portray. It is apparent on how the jobs of the men are treated with great importance, and the women’s jobs as housekeepers are seen of no real worth. Since they were sheriffs and county attorneys, they talked poorly about women and expected them to be submissive and never oppose to their actions. Mr. Hales spoke bluntly about them, saying, "Women are used to worrying over trifles," (Glaspell). They were only seen as simple housewives who should just care about housekeeping and other trivial domestic jobs which men take account as insignificant. The males think highly of themselves and underestimate the capabilities of the females and put limits on what they can and cannot do. Mr. Hales even doubted if the women can be of any help in collecting evidences saying, “Would the women know a clue if they did come upon it?”(Glaspell).
The scenario in the crime scene makes a mental picture of how the suspect, Minnie Foster was treated the same way as her peers were. It serves as a glimpse of how unhappy Minnie has lived her married life. She wasn’t entitled to have an opinion and was only treated as a slave to her husband. Her feelings and her needs were of no importance. Minnie’s life is the same as the canary in the story—...