Women's View In A Men's World

1588 words - 7 pages

“A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell can be described as a murder mystery in which the motive was found because of “women…worrying over trifles” (Glaspell L-41). In the story, Mr. Hale and his son Harry find Mr. Wright lying on his bed dead due to strangulation by a rope. His wife, Mrs. Minnie Foster Wright, claims that she does not know who killed him. The sheriff (Mr. Peters), Mr. Hale, and the county attorney (Young Henderson) believe Mrs. Wright killed him because they do not understand how someone could commit the murder and her not wake up even though she was sleeping “in the bed beside him.” Mrs. Wright was taken to jail, and the men decided to go look for evidence. Mrs. Hale and ...view middle of the document...

Wright is “worrying about her preserves” while she is “held for murder” (Glaspell L-41). Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters know from experience that canning is difficult, time-consuming work, and they too would be upset if that work were to go to waste. The attorney goes to dry his hands after washing the stickiness off them and sees that the towel and “pans under the sink” are dirty. He says, “Not much of a housekeeper” (Glaspell L-41). Mrs. Hale stands up for Mrs. Wright and points out that, “There’s a great deal of work to be done on a farm” (Glaspell L-41). Keeping a house completely spotless is nearly impossible unless you spend every moment of the day cleaning. It would have taken Mrs. Wright a very long time to do tasks such as laundry and washing dishes because there were no washing machines, dryers, or dish washers in the early 1900s. Mrs. Hale also thinks of an explanation for the “roller towel” being dirty: “…I guess that deputy sheriff that come out to make the fire might have got a little of this on…Wish I’d thought of that sooner! Seems mean to talk about her for not having things slicked up, when she had to come away in such a hurry” (Glaspell L-43). Mrs. Hale left her kitchen with “half the flour” for “her bread” “sifted and half unsifted” because she was being rushed to come to the Wright home, so she completely understands (Glaspell L-36).
Along with seeing the house differently and being understanding, the women notice details in the quilt. Glaspell writes: “’Do you suppose she was going to quilt it or just knot it?” The sheriff threw up his hands. “They wonder whether she was going to quilt it or just knot it!” There was laugh for the ways of women…’” (L-46). The women, unlike the men, know how much work goes into a quilt; they know that quilting is more difficult and takes more time than knotting it. Mrs. Peters notices a change in the stitching of the quilt and says, “All the rest of them have been so nice and even--but this one. Why it looks as if she didn’t know what she was about!” (Glaspell L-47). The men probably would have never noticed the mistakes because they would not have paid attention to it. Mrs. Hale goes on to say, “What do you suppose she was so--nervous about?” (Glaspell L-47). Mrs. Hale knows that someone does not go from sewing “nice and even” to all over the place unless there is something upsetting them. She is so bothered by the stitches that she actually pulls them out.
Finally, the women notice something odd about the birdcage. The men spend most of their time looking in the Wright’s bedroom and out in the barn, but the women look at Mrs. Wright’s possessions and the room she was in when Mr. Hale and his son came to see Mr. Wright. Mrs. Peters notices a birdcage and asks Mrs. Hale if Mrs. Wright had a bird. Ms. Hale mentions a man “selling canaries cheap,” but is not sure if Mrs. Wright bought one. Mrs. Peters points out that she would not “have a cage” if she did not have a bird. Mrs. Hale says that...

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