The Guilt of Mrs. Wright
This story is about the investigation into the murder of John Wright. He has been strangled in his bedroom, while in bed with his wife beside him. It is being investigated by the local sheriff and the county attorney, who have been joined by two women (Mrs. Peters, the sheriff’s wife, and Mrs. Hale, a neighbor) at the Wright farmhouse. The men are looking for clues in the killing. The women are there to get supplies for Mrs. Wright, who has been taken to jail for the murder of her husband. The women find more clues than the men, and really seem to find the answer to why Mr. Wright is no longer alive.
The clues reveal that the Wright household was not a “cheerful” one. Mrs. Hale says, “It never seemed a very cheerful place” (1071). Also, she had, in the past, dressed nicely and sang in the church choir. She had not taken part in any of the activities for women, such as the Ladies Aid. Mrs. Hale feels bad she didn’t stop by more often, but again mentions how the place was not cheerful. The Wrights did not have any children. The women both think that this means there is less work around the house, but also that it means Mrs. Wright is home alone all day while her husband works. Mrs. Hale feels Mr. Wright was “no company when he did come in” after work (1074). Mrs. Wright must have felt very isolated. She was alone all day, in an isolated house, with a husband that is poor company when he comes home after work. Even though a farmer’s wife is very busy during the day, it sounds like a lonely existence for Mrs. Wright.
The women also find that Mrs. Wright was making a quilt. The stitches were all normal up to a certain point, then are “all over the place” (1073). The women also discover an empty bird cage in the cupboard. The door of the cage is broken, as if someone had been “rough” with it. While looking through the quilting material, they find a pretty box containing the dead bird. They speculate that Mrs. Wright...
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