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When asked why she didn't wake up while Mr. Wright was being strangled, why does Minnie...

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rx2000 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted June 9, 2010 at 3:14 AM via web

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When asked why she didn't wake up while Mr. Wright was being strangled, why does Minnie Wright answer, "I was on the inside."?

To what is she referring when she describes herself as being “on the inside”?

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:32 AM (Answer #1)

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Literally, I believe that Minnie means that one side of her bed was pushed against the wall and that that is the side she slept on.  If she needed to get up in the night, she would have had to climb over her husband to do so.  This image demonstrates Minnie's feeling of entrapment even in her marriage bed.  Her reasoning for saying this about her husband's murder is to argue that someone could have approached her husband's side of the bed, strangled him, and left without her waking up (especially if she was lying on her side with her back to her husband and her face toward the wall).

Figuratively, I agree with the first post, while Minnie would have never admitted to the sheriff or county attorney that her husband had caused her to withdraw within herself ("the inside"), she most likely made this statement to present a sort of alibi for herself and to defiantly (but subtly) state what her husband did to her emotionally and psychologically.

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted June 9, 2010 at 3:49 AM (Answer #2)

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This is a great question!  The answer can be interpreted in multiple ways.  First of all, Minnie may mean that she was "on the inside" emotionally.  Sometimes when people experience hurt or loss, they turn inward and do not respond to people or events that occur around them.  It is as if they are in a trance to preserve their own safety in this difficult time.  Minnie's loss of her bird, her only source of joy, could cause her to go into this emotionally isolated state.  Another interpretation of "on the inside" could mean that she physically could not be awakened by external stimuli while asleep.  As you probably know, some people are very sound sleepers.  In fact, there is actually a stage of sleep from which, for a few seconds, people cannot be awakened.  Other people need to be touched, shaken, even shouted at before they will wake up.  This is related to the ancient belief that sleep is actually a passageway to death.  If you travel "too far" into sleep, you are very close to death and thus cannot be awakened.

I hope this helps!

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