1 Answer | Add Yours
Mrs. Hale say this toward the end of the play. Here's the surrounding conversation:
MRS. PETERS. I know what stillness is. (Pulling herself back). The law has got to punish crime, Mrs. Hale. MRS. HALE (not as if answering that). I wish you'd seen MInnie Foster when she wore a white dress with blue ribbons and stood up there in the choir and sang. (A look around the room). Oh, I wish I'd come over here once in a while! That was a crime! That was a crime! Who's going to punish that?
MRS. Peters (looking upstairs). We mustn't--take on.
MRS. HALE. I might have known she needed help! I know how things can be--for women. I tell you, it's queer, Mrs. Peters. We live close together and we live far apart. We all go through the same things--it's all just a different kind of the same thing. (Brushes her eyes, noticing the bottle of fruit, reaches out for it.) If I was you, I wouldn't tell her her fruit was gone. Tell her it ain't. Tell her it's all right. Take this in to prove it to her. She--she may never know whether it was broke or not.
MRS. PETERS (takes the bottle, looks about for something to wrap it in; takes petticoat from the clothes brought from the other room, very nervously begins winding this around the bottle. In a false voice). My, it's a good thing the men couldn't hear us. Wouldn't they just laugh! Getting all stirred up over a little thing like a--dead canary. As if that could have anything to do with--with--wouldn't they laugh!
The "thing" or "things" are essentially "trifles" according to men, but are now important things to women: "lack of community," "inequality," a kind of "universal suffering" in marriage. She says, "We live close together and we live far apart," which is to say women are publicly together but privately apart once in marriages, like birds in cages.
Mrs. Hale uses this very subtle speech, which is very pre-feminist in its tone, to convince the others to suppress the evidence. This is Mrs. Hale's closing argument to the "jury of her peers" (the title of the play in short story form). Mrs. Peters' verdict is to take the bottle.
The women effectively decide that they do not want her to be tried in a male court of law.
We’ve answered 319,845 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question