What common assumptions about women are shared by the men in "A Jury of Her Peers"?

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The men view themselves as "the law" and the women as their virtual prisoners. It does not matter to the men the conditions or treatment Minnie Wright endured (see the exchange between Mrs. Hale and the sheriff.) It does not matter to the men if the women "get discouraged and lose heart." The men assume that being "taken care of" should be enough. Personal needs, desires, and hopes are not to be taken seriously.

However, women like Mrs. Hale remember a time before Minnie's marriage to Mr. Wright, a time when she was "a thing that sang." It hits Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters personally. As they peruse the Wright home, they see their own dashed dreams in Minnie's sorry life.

Despite the protests of the women, who find common ground in their mutual dissatisfaction and personal pain, the men resolutely refuse to see the women as human beings with needs. Thus, the protests of "how'd you like to cook on a stove like this?" fall on deaf ears.

The men also steadfastly deny that Minnie, or any other woman, would be capable of revolt, much less violence. That they would even be intelligent enough to concoct such a scheme is also highly dubious, in the opinion of the men. Mr. Hale scoffs, "But would the women know a clue if they did come upon it?". He is not alone among *his* peers. But in their hearts, the women, Minnie's spiritual jury, defend and free her.