A Jury of Her Peers Questions and Answers
by Susan Glaspell

A Jury of Her Peers book cover
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In "A Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glaspell, why is the title ironic? What decision was reached by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters? Was Mrs. Wright accused for killing her husband and guilty of murder?

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Philip Arrington eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The famous short story "A Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glaspell tells of two women who accompany their husbands to a remote farmhouse in which a murder has been committed. While the husbands supposedly investigate the murder, the women are able to piece together what really happened because of their observation of domestic details (which the men miss) and because of their empathy for the wife of the murdered man.

Irony in literature can refer to using words in a different way than their actual meanings. The title "A Jury of Her Peers" is ironic because, although the women, who are her true peers, pass judgment on and decide the fate of the accused woman, they are not a real court-appointed jury.

Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, in the end, after they have discovered evidence that indicates that Mrs. Wright did indeed commit the murder, choose to withhold the evidence from their husbands. In doing this, they excuse Mrs. Wright for killing her husband, considering it justified.

During the activities in the story, Mrs. Wright is in jail, having been accused of committing the murder and arrested. As mentioned above, the two women find evidence that convinces them that Mrs. Wright is guilty of the murder.

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The title of this story is ironic because of the pronoun. The only people who can really understand Mrs. Wright's action are women, her peers. However, the only people responsible for doing the investigation and judging are men, who cannot understand the situation.

Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters decide to hide evidence that would have shown the men why Mrs. Wright might have killed her husband. They protect her, in other words, and decide to prevent her from being punished.

Mrs. Wright is responsible for killing her husband. She did kill him. However, the question of whether she did murder is up for dispute. Was what she did justifiable homicide? Self-defense? How abusive was Mr. Wright? Can any of us who weren't part of that jury of her peers ever know?

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