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How does Glaspell show that the women both know the murderer's identity, the reason,...

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jperez2108 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 9, 2012 at 5:01 PM via web

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How does Glaspell show that the women both know the murderer's identity, the reason, and the method of the murder?

 

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:28 AM (Answer #1)

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The women realise that there is important evidence in Minnie’s domestic activity: something that the men neither perceive nor understand. Their first clue as to Minnie’s change in temper is when they look at her sewing. Both women realise that the irregular stitches indicate a change of mood and a distraction from her work. There is a look shared between them which indicates that both understand the significance of this-

 "The sewing," said Mrs. Peters, in a troubled way, "All the rest of them have been so nice and even--but--this one. Why, it looks as if she didn't know what she was about!"

Their eyes met--something flashed to life, passed between them; then, as if with an effort, they seemed to pull away from each other.

Mrs Hale picks at the uneven stitches, not wanting the untidy work to remain as a memory of her friend. It is Mrs Peters who sees that the stitches are also evidence of a more important kind.

When the two women find the dead bird in the sewing basket, again they acknowledge without words the understanding they have reached about the circumstances of Mr Wright’s death-

 And then again the eyes of the two women met--this time clung together in a look of dawning comprehension, of growing horror.

The women share an understanding of womanhood, a fact they have never shared before. Mrs Hale says-

 We all go through the same things--it's all just a different kind of the same thing!

Both women hide the dead bird and the irregular quilt pieces from the men. They conspire to conceal the evidence of Minnie’s guilt-

Mrs. Peters did not move. And then she did it. With a rush forward, she threw back the quilt pieces, got the box, tried to put it in her handbag.

When Mrs Peters is unable to conceal the box, Mrs Hale completes the concealment-

 Martha Hale snatched the box from the sheriff's wife, and got it in the pocket of her big coat just as the sheriff and the county attorney came back into the kitchen.

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