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What lines characterize Mrs. Hale's reaction to the men behavior? What lines...

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angela21 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 13, 2009 at 8:01 AM via web

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What lines characterize Mrs. Hale's reaction to the men behavior? What lines characterize Mrs. Peter to the men early in the play?

what lines show Mrs. Peter feelings change later in the play? what might account for both their initial differences and then their evolving solidarity with Mrs. Wright?

Really confused about this question..thanks for your help

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grouchysgirl | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 16, 2009 at 11:37 AM (Answer #1)

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Mrs. Hale believes the men are looking for evidence to support a quick conviction.  They don't see that Mr. Wright may not have been a innocent victim.  Mrs. Hale reacts strongly to the county attorney when he attacks Mrs. Wright as a housewife.

COUNTY ATTORNEY  I shouldn't say she had the homemaking instinct.

MRS. HALE. Well, I don't know as Wright had, either.

COUNTY ATTORNEY. You mean that they didn't get on very well?

MRS. HALE. No, I don't mean anything. But I don't think a place'd be any cheerfuller for John Wright's being in it.

Here she's saying that the man of the house was not an easy person to live with.  She also reacts strongly when the men scorn her remarks about the quilt. 

MRS. HALE. I wonder if she was goin' to quilt or just knot it? (Footsteps have been heard coming down the stairs. The Sheriff enters, followed by Hale and the County Attorney.)

SHERIFF. They wonder if she was going to quilt it or just knot it. (The men laugh, the women look abashed.) ...

MRS. HALE (resentfully). I don't know as there's anything so strange, our takin' up our time with little things while we're waiting for them to get the evidence. (She sits down at the big table, smoothing out a block with decision.) I don't see as it's anything to laugh about.

What they don't realize is that she has discovered an important piece of evidence but because it is 'a trifle' they don't concern themselves with it.

Mrs. Peters is a true sheriff's wife.  She defends their actions when Mrs. Hale comments about the men critiquing her homemaking skills

MRS. PETERS. Of course it's no more than their duty.

and trying to turn Mrs. Wright's house against her

MRS. PETERS. But, Mrs. Hale, the law is the law.

She is the epitome of a dutiful wife.

That changes however with the discovery of the birdcage and the dead bird.  For Mrs. Peters, this brings back not only childhood memories but also memories from early on in her marriage.  These memories, along with Mrs. Hale's memroies of Mrs. Wright before she was married, begin to pull the two women into an unspoken agreement about the evidence they have found.  As the women begin to empathize more with Mrs. Wright's situation, they realize she could be responsible but that she may have already served her punishment, something the men would not understand.

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