Unseen Irony: An Interpretation Of Susan Glaspell’s A Jury Of Her Peers
Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” was full of irony. The men were the main reason they failed to solve Mr. Wright’s murder. Glaspell wanted men to recognize the importance of women’s intelligence in solving the murder. So she had men address women “with good natured superiority” saying things like “Women worry about trifles.” For murder, and worrying over her preserves!” Another ironic twist is that Mrs. Hale & Mrs. Peters eventually find power in being low-ranked, which allows them to remain silent at the end of the play. Because they are perceived to be unable to use the information gained, the women are free to conduct their own investigations. This is why they can look at Minnie’s old clothes. The jars filled with preservatives are there to prove that there is so much work to do on a farm. The quilt is still unfinished, using a technique called Knotting. This could also represent Mrs. Wright’s attempt to tie a knot about her husband’s neck. The last piece was the canary with broken neck. Mrs. Wright’s final piece. The women recall how she loved singing and how happy she was. However, now she was kept in the same house as the bird. The men were confident in their detective skills and walked around the house unaware. Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” exposes obvious sexism, which causes the women to lose their sense of justice and ironically prevents them from solving the murder.
Mael.Phyllis points to the fact that “women can share their experience” which could enable them to “act with a new respect for women’s lives and be different than, but not equal to, men.” Mrs. Hale & Mrs. Peters have the opportunity to share their personal memories. All the women lived in a farm. But Mrs. Hale was a better woman than Mrs. Peters. Their husbands loved and cared for them. Two women share their stories about Mr. Wright. They discuss how he could be quite rough and tumble, how he suppressed Minnie’s bright personality and made their home cold. These women share the same experience and have different homes, which makes it difficult for the men and women to understand each other. Phyllis Mael continues to state that Glaspell knew that women who have lived together can make better decisions than men. This empowerment was what Mrs. Peters most appreciated. The men knew she would choose one side if she found evidence. They also believed that her senses of justice, right and wrong were as strong as theirs due to the fact she was “married” to the law. Their arrogance, which they knew would easily change a person’s moral code and force them to aid a criminal, was something that the men could not have foreseen. The majority of states didn’t allow women to be on a Jury in 1917. Minnie would likely have been judged before an all-male jury. Stereotypically, an entirely male jury would convict a woman accused. They wanted Mrs. Wright to be judged honestly by her peers, people who had been through her life and struggles. The sexism and how Minnie was treated by the women was too much for them to bear. They had to understand that she was being given an equal chance in their eyes, and not by men in courtrooms. Not by the same person who had pushed Mrs. Wright into murdering her in the first instance.