In the short story “A Jury of Her Peers” written by Susan Glaspell, a spirit had obviously been destroyed by abuse, murder, and death. Minnie Wright was no longer the innocent girl everyone had known her to be because her spirit had been crushed. It’s truly unknown what really went on that night, but two women reveal the true nature of the crime through symbolism. As the men search for answers, the women find the truth in the kitchen. Jars of preserves, a broken birdcage, and a quilt unfinished will tell what really happened and, perhaps, what the men were looking for. Sometimes women are often underappreciated, under estimated, and left to feel worthless. Minnie Wright was in the right for what had went on the night before, but would the law find the truth, or would her peers keep it a secret?
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The narrator in “A Jury of Her Peers” speaks in third person omniscient voice and gives an objective, which translates the facts, not speaking in the characters voices, but speaking through their voices. Minnie Foster’s life is told through her old friend who she had not seen in twenty years. “She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively- when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls, singing in the choir. But that- oh, that was twenty years ago.” (Glaspell 207) Mrs. Hale went telling the sheriffs wife, ““Wright was close!” she exclaimed, holding up a shabby black shirt that bore the marks of much making over.” (Glaspell 207) Minnie Foster was no more as now she had been Minnie Wright for twenty years and it was showing by the look of her farm house on the outskirts of the community and the clothes she had.
Mrs. Wright had asked for her apron and her shawl which had hung on the stair way door. As the sheriff, the county attorney, and Mr. Hale looked around upstairs, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale looked through the kitchen to find clues as to what happened on the night of Mr. Wright’s death. The men had already found her preserves. They had all been ruined except one jar of cherries. Minnie would be so devastated with all the hard work she put into putting up those jars of fruit. The sheriff’s wife then became sympathetic for Minnie Wright. “Oh- her fruit,” she said, looking to Mrs. Hale for sympathetic understanding.” (Glaspell 205) The jar of cherries would be taken to Minnie. This was only the beginning of what the women would find in Minnie Wright’s house. Mrs. Wright had asked for an apron and her shawl to be brought to her.
Looking around the kitchen, the woman found the oven to be worn out and the stove to be broken. The thought of working in that kitchen year after year discouraged Mrs. Hale. “She was then startled by hearing Mrs. Peters say: “A Person gets discouraged and loses heart.”” After twenty years, Minnie Foster was no longer the pretty girl the town knew; she was Minnie Wright who had turned heartless. As the men had come back down stairs, the women had found a quilt that Minnie had been working on and it was beautiful but not yet finished. The closer the women looked at it, they found a piece that was not like the rest. “”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!”” Something had gone on that had made Minnie nervous and upset that’s for sure, but what exactly happened? The women kept looking in the cupboard and found a birdcage that the door was broken. Where was the bird and what was Minnie doing with a cage without a bird? Then they found the bird wrapped in silk and placed in a pretty box. “”But, Mrs. Peters!” cried Mrs. Hale. “look at it! Its neck look at its neck! It’s all other side to!”” Someone had wrung its neck! The women felt sympathetic for Minnie Wright and when the men came back in they hid the bird. No one would know the truth of what happened that night. No one except Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Hale, and Mrs. Wright.
We all go through tough times in life when we just cannot catch a break. People and certain conditions change people. Women are often looked down on. Minnie Wright took care of her burden that had changed her. He wrung the neck of the bird that made her happy, so she wrung the neck of the one that changed her and brought her down. Minnie was a woman guilty of murder, but the man deserved what he had gotten. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters saw that, and they hid what the men needed to convict Minnie of a crime. Glaspell did not intend to persuade murder for fixing the problems you have in life but perhaps to kill the emotions and get rid of what changes a person for the worst.
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