Victim or Suspect?
Inciting a debate over the morality of keeping a secret, Susan Glaspell captivates reader’s minds in her story “A Jury of Her Peers.” Through the exploitation of the personalities of characters Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, Glaspell explores the chronicles of the discovery and subsequent investigation of the murder of John Wright. As the story unfolds, the question becomes not “Who murdered John Wright” but rather “Why was John Wright murdered.” This leads to the idea that Mrs. Wright is not a murderer but rather a victim in Glaspell’s clandestine story. Near the story’s ending, the women decide to conceal male investigators of their influential findings after agreeing that Minnie Foster is a victim rather than a culprit. Caused by the women’s ability to sympathize with Mrs. Wright, the women make the controversial yet justified decision of not exposing the true story behind the murder of Mr. Wright. Glaspell embodies Mrs. Wright as a victim at various points through the story by depicting the male gender as belittling and irreverent. Portraying these qualities through the characters of Mr. Hale, Mr. Peters, and the county attorney, Glaspell displays how men were often dismissive of women during the time period of this story. This is demonstrated in the text when Mr. Hale makes the comment “But would the women know a clue if they did come upon it?” (10). The attitude that the men show towards the women is a perfect example of how it was typical for a man to belittle the female gender during the time frame of the story. Ironically, it turns out that the women are the only ones who discover any clues for solving the case. Glaspell also presents the idea that women’s work was unappreciated by the male gender. While inspecting the dirty kitchen of the Wright’s home Mr. Henderson states “Dirty towels! Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies?” (9). Being completely oblivious to what Mrs. Wright might have been dealing with at the time, Mr....
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