Can you give examples of irony throughout "A Jury of Her Peers"?

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karaejacobi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The central irony of Glaspell's short story "A Jury of Her Peers" (as well as of the dramatic version, Trifles) is that the investigators overlook the domestic clues that allow their wives to solve the murder. We would expect that investigators who are trained and experienced in searching crime scenes, collecting clues, and solving cases would be better equipped to pinpoint motive and murderer than a group of women whose lives are mostly limited to their homes and immediate community. As it turns out, the small details of Mrs. Wright's (neé Minnie Foster's) daily life and marriage are the keys to the mystery.

While the male investigators scour certain parts of the crime scene, their wives take notice of details such as the half-done kitchen work and the state of Mrs. Wright's knitting. They infer from these clues that Mrs. Wright was interrupted. They eventually find a bird with its neck broken, a symbol for Minnie. The ladies put together their knowledge of Minnie's past as a singer and figure out that her husband's oppression, namely not allowing her to sing, eventually led her to kill her controlling husband. The women, after making their discoveries, decide to cover up the crime. They are, of course, able to do so because the men do not think their observations or activities have any bearing on the murder investigation. Even though one woman is the wife of the chief investigator, she sympathizes with the oppressed woman, and the female characters bond over their pact to protect what they see as a justified action on Minnie's part.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The biggest irony is that, all through the story, the two men in the story are making all sorts of assupmtions, inferences, criticism, judging, blaming, and labeling while their wives, whom they have specifically told to stay away from making assumptions, inferences, criticism, etc are the ones finding out every single clue that is available to resolve exactly what happened in the household that night.

Moreover, the women are able to put together through what the men deem to be "trifles" a perfect scenario of the crime complete with motif, cause, effects, and results. All this, they did by superficially looking at the scene and making connections. The men? Clueless, and one of them was an investigator! They made it all look like it was the case of a very bad wife being even worse. Little did they know that they had a case of wild spousal abuse in their hands, but they were too fanatic of their contempt against women to actually put the two together.