Critical Analysis Of A Jury Of Her Peers

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Throughout the early 1900’s, women were viewed by society as inferior to men. Those of the female sex were expected to cook, clean, and only speak when spoken to. Susan Glaspell criticizes these concepts in one of the most well known forms of feminist literature, “A Jury of Her Peers”. The story’s central point focuses on the murder of John Wright committed by his wife Minnie as the Hales and the Peters investigate the crime scene. Despite the women finding valuable evidence substantiating the crime, their husbands viewed their discoveries as petty trifles that only women worry about. While some argue that Glaspell’s novel explores the idea that women were overlooked and dismissed by men in post-WWI times, and others suggest the story is a …show more content…
If a woman wanted to make a decision, it had to be granted by the husband. Women of this time were lively, but that was often crushed by their husbands. Glaspell 's use of melancholy flashbacks reflects the wives’ recognition of the extensively abusive outcome of the Wright relationship by exemplifying the fact that he stopped her from doing what she craved. Mrs. Hale looks back on Minnie Wright as, “...she was kind of like a bird herself. Real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid. How-she-did-change…” (Glaspell 10). This flashback explains that at one point Minnie was lively and happy, but John killed that just like he killed the bird. He wouldn’t let her wear her pretty dresses or sing in the church choir, so she had nothing keeping her happy. Elaine Hedges reflects on how inferior a wife was to her husband by explaining that “...married women were defined under the law as ‘civilly dead’, their legal existence subsumed within their husbands…” (Hedges 5), meaning that without a husband, a woman was nothing. In this period, women were incapable of living as a bachelorette because a woman was expected to be a housewife who bears children, not someone who makes a living for themselves. As Mrs. Hale reflects on Minnie’s life before John, she contemplates, “I wish you’d seen Minnie Foster...when she wore a white dress with blue ribbons, and stood up there in the choir and sang.” (Glaspell 12), compared to her now drab attire that John requires her to wear. Glaspell’s frequent use of melancholy flashbacks also emphasize that the life Minnie used to have made her feel fulfilled, and John stole that from her. In his eyes, she was meant to be at home doing chores, not singing for the church. Minnie was trapped in a relationship that she stayed in only to keep from being homeless and unfed, as if she was a pet. Through this form of

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