Write a paragraph explaining how women are being marginalized in society by men in "A Jury of Her Peers".

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Glaspell reveals the reality of gender marginalization in a variety of ways. I think the most compelling of these would be the function of the investigation of the crime.  The investigating officers disparage much of what the women have to say, as they are convinced of their own superiority of their investigating techniques.   It is not merely that the women are not heard in their assertions and ideas, but rather dismissed on the basis of being "women."  In order to fulfill this, the male officers revert to offering up stereotypes of women (remaining "in the kitchen," being "little" of mind and stature, incapable of generating authentic thought.)   They feel this because they are empowered by the institutional structure that gives power to men and discourages women from entering this configuration of power.  It is through dialogue and discourse that the women actually display more investigating prowess in both process and product than the men.  Their conceptions of suspects and recreation of the crime through discussion helps them to discover the truth behind what happened.  The fact that the women, not the male investigating officers, helps to show the reality of gender bias and marginalization.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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The women are marginalised by the men and society in the story. it is important to note that this is so clearly seen that the reader identifies with the skill of the women in their careful reconstruction of the dismal life of Minnie Wright and their insight into the world of the farmer's wife at this time. The men assume that the women are ignorant and they do not see the value in the women's depth of knowledge of a life (that of Minnie) which men do not understand -

 '"But would the women know a clue if they did come upon it?" 

There is a primitive air to the proximity of the characters which implies that society has not moved on from its gender divisions  since early times  -

 'The men went over to the stove. The women stood close together by the door.'

The men are associated with fire, work and knowledge. The women are sneered at for their understanding of 'kitchen things' and the domestic dudgery of Minnie's life. It is through their clear understanding and perception - and the lack of empathy and appreciation on the side of the men - which leads to the solving of the crime and the greatest marginalisation of the whole story. The women break the law to defend one of their own. Their fear is that she will not be tried by 'a jury of her peers' as women were not part of the judicial process. This results in the women creating their own system by which Minnie is judged.

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