illustration of a dead bird lying within a black box

A Jury of Her Peers

by Susan Glaspell

Start Free Trial

how are the the men and women portrayed in jury of her peers?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "A Jury of her Peers" the men and women of the unnamed town are presented with the same clues behind the murder of Mr. Wright.  However, the women are the ones who solve, cover up, and understand the act behind the murder while the men overlook the clues thinking Mrs. Wright (Minnie) was just a bad housekeeper. The sheriff dismisses the evidence quickly and then continuing criticizes Minnie's housework.

"Nothing here but kitchen things," he said, with a little laugh for the insignificance of kitchen things.


"Dirty towelsl Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies?"

He kicked his foot against some dirty pans under the sink.

"There's a great deal of work to be done on a farm," said Mrs. Hale stiffly.

The men believe the women are just defending Minnie because she is a woman, even though they try to explain that life on a farm presents many jobs and challenges for its inhabitants. Instead of just supporting their sister, they understand what life must've been like for Minnie. They discuss how controlling and demanding Mr. Wright was and discuss their dismay that they did not visit her more often.

"Wright was close!" she exclaimed, holding up a shabby black skirt that bore the marks of much making over. "I think maybe that's why she kept so much to herself. I s'pose she felt she couldn't do her part; and then, you don't enjoy things when you feel shabby. She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively--when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls, singing in the choir. But that--oh, that was twenty years ago.

The dichotomy between the men and women is shown when the men come downstairs to see the women looking at Minnie's quilting.  The women are beginning to solve the mystery and see how and when she began to unravel. Of course the men, refusing to deign themselves to such womanly details, mock the women and dismiss their discussion.

"Do you suppose she was going to quilt it or just knot it?"

The sheriff threw up his hands.

"They wonder whether she was going to quilt it or just knot it!"

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team