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Why is the title "A Jury of her Peers" a good title for a short story?

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bianca915 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 9, 2012 at 6:16 AM via web

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Why is the title "A Jury of her Peers" a good title for a short story?

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:48 AM (Answer #1)

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The title is effective for this story as Mrs Hale and Mrs Peters decide to conceal the evidence which would indicate Minnie’s guilt in the murder of her husband.

The men are unable to work out that the domestic evidence around them is an indicator of Minnie Wright’s state of mind. As they are nor her ‘peers’ they cannot appreciate how the lively, singing young woman has become a drudge: that the girl who loved ribbons and singing is confined to a miserable life with a miserable man.

Mrs Hale notices that Minnie had left putting away the sugar halfway through. She knew that this indicated an interruption: to leave such a job was not the way farmer’s wives worked –

 What had interrupted Minnie Foster? Why had that work been left half done?

Together Mrs Hale and Mrs Peters see that Minnie’s erratic sewing shows a change in mood, and the strangled canary was probably what made her snap and choke her husband to death. The men did not see any of these clues, as they had no understanding of Minnie’s life.

The women make themselves the ‘jury’ by choosing to conceal the evidence so Minnie will not be charged with the murder of her husband. They decide that her actions were understandable, and that she has been punished enough.

There is also an irony in the title as at the time of writing, women were not allowed to be jurors. Glaspell apparently based the story on real events, where a woman was acquitted of murdering her husband in their bed due to lack of evidence.

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