“jury of Her Peers” Mrs. Hale
“jury of Her Peers” Mrs. Hale
Although the theme of Susan Glaspell’s “Jury of Her peers” is about the ultimate fate of Minnie Wright, the central story line is about a key character that determines Mrs. Wright’s fate. Mrs. Hale’s influence to the story is almost accidental because she unintentionally stumbles upon evidence that links Minnie to the murder. She never had the intent to find evidence against Minnie, she was just there to pack up a few things for her and be done with it. Her curiosity and wonder arose when she found certain things in the Wright’s home that seems peculiar and out of place for the Minnie Foster she had known twenty years prior to her marriage to Mr. Wright. Her character traits which include but are diffidently not limited too sympathy, assertiveness, and her attention to detail are brought out by the comments and actions of others; yet the author picks certain ways to bring out these qualities.
The women characters in “A Jury of Her Peers” are quiet, looked down upon, and are to be kept in their place as women and nothing more; but it’s because of the Observant personality trait of Mrs. Hale that leads you to the stories conclusion. Much of the tension in this story is a result of what the women find out on their own that the men are blind too. The story starts off with Mrs. Hale thinking to herself “But what her eye took in was that her kitchen was in no shape for leaving her bread already for mixing, half the flour sifted and half unsifted.”(172) it was because of this type of thinking that she was able to figure out evidence that the men were not. She is not the type to leave anything half done and notices when tings are not finished or out of place. “The cover was off the wooden bucket, and beside it was a paper bag half-full.”(177) “She was putting this in there,” she said to herself-slowly.”(177) Without consciously thinking that it was evidence against Mrs. Wright, Ms. Hale was slowly piecing together the thoughts that were going through Mrs. Wright’s head before the murder took place. She was constantly putting herself in Mrs. Wright’s shoes to understand what she must have been going through and why she must have done what she did. Her Observant character trait is what leads the reader to the conclusion of who actually killed Mr. Wright.
Mrs. Hale is sympathetic to Mrs. Wright because she realizes that Mrs. Wright was the bird stuck in that cage; “She-come to think of it. she was kind of like a bird herself.”(181) The cage is symbolic of the life that Minnie Foster had lived since being caged up in a marriage with Mr. Wright. When Mrs. Hale arrived at the Wrights house she proceeds to look at the situation of how Minnie Foster’s life was as a young girl and how she had changed as she had grown older with Mr. Wright. She used to be a beautiful canary that sang until she was caged up; “She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively-when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls, singing in the choir.”(177) Mrs. Hale shared some of the younger years of Minnie Foster’s life and as she starts to piece together the evidence Her and Mrs. Peters found, she starts to realize that this was not a matter of impulse so much as it was a calculated act based on years of mental and marital abuse. Mrs. Wright had been confined to a life that she did not welcome, “I think maybe that’s why she kept so much to herself.”(177). Mrs. Hale felt bad as she never went to
visit Minnie Foster, “But I do tell you what I do wish, Mrs. Peters. I wish I had come over sometimes when she was here. I wish-I had.”(180) Mrs. Hale realizes that after the twenty years of being confined to a miserable life, and losing her canary, that was the final breaking point that she just could not take anymore. She feels sorry for not going to visit Mrs. Wright as though maybe her going to see her could have prevented all this from happening. “If there had been years and years-of nothing, then a bird to sing to you, it