How can the plot and structure of the story be analyzed in terms of the main character?This question defintely confused me. I haven't the slightest idea of what my professor means, or even how to...

How can the plot and structure of the story be analyzed in terms of the main character?

This question defintely confused me. I haven't the slightest idea of what my professor means, or even how to go about answering this question.

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troutmiller's profile pic

troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

The main character would be Mrs. Hale.  We see everything through her eyes.  At the beginning of the story, she is dragged from her kitchen, and we are informed of how frustrating it is to her to leave things unfinished.  This "unfinished" theme becomes part of the evidence that proves that Minnie killed her husband.  We see through Mrs. Hale's eyes how her kitchen is messy, how her stitches are crooked in her quilting, and how the bird cage is empty. 

Along with Mrs. Hale is the sheriff's wife, Mrs. Peters.  Although Mrs. Peters wants to follow the law, like her husband does, she also feels what Mrs. Hale feels about what Minnie's husband has done to her over the years of their marriage.  The story is built around Mrs. Hale's observations and how she convinces Mrs. Peters that they should keep the evidence to themselves. They even do away with the evidence so that the men can't prove Minnie killed her husband. 

Without Mrs. Hale, we never would have noticed things like uneven stitching or messy kitchens or empty birdcages.  The men would never have noticed them as evidence, either.  However, Mrs Hale provides us with such insight so that we can find the killer as easily as she did.  Yet, with her compassion for Minnie, and who she's become in her misery, we agree with the women's decision to keep the information from the men and let Minnie walk free.

anna95s's profile pic

anna95s | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

           A woman can tolerate just so much; when she is locked away from her dreams and the delightful life she was used to, morbid hatred begins to accumulate. Minnie Foster, in “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell, had been forced to change her delightful self into an austere and obedient housewife, a tragic change that eventually leads her to murder her husband, John Wright. Minnie Foster, or Minnie Wright is therefore, a morbidly dynamic character whose dreams represented by the singing canary, was crushed by John Wright.

           The death of the singing canary, an alter ego of Minnie Foster, reveals the inanimate marriage she underwent and the motivation behind the murder of her husband, John Wright. There was a time when Minnie Foster was “…like the bird”; she was “…sweet and pretty…” and loved to sing. It was only after she married when she really “… [changed]”. Living a life full of “nothing”, the canary was her only companion, an alter ego that was still free enough to sing. Yet, when John Wright “…wrung its neck”, it not only led to the bird’s death but also Minnie Foster’s death due to “…lack of life”; he ultimately destroyed the last innocence and youth that was left inside her. It also explains why John Wright was “chocked” to death leaving the gun in the house untouched. It had only seemed fair to Minnie Wright that her husband should suffer the same way since he had wrung the dreams and therefore life out of her. 

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