A Jury of Her Peers Questions and Answers
by Susan Glaspell

A Jury of Her Peers book cover
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What do Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters surmise has caused Minnie Wright to murder her husband? What enables them to grasp and understand the truth of the  situation? How do they differ in this respect from the men in the story? What does the story imply about such differences? 

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Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters figure out a lot about Mrs. Wright in the story. They discuss, first off, what Mrs. Wright was like when she was younger. She was involved with a choir, was seen around town and was generally happy, but Mr. Wright hated her singing and made her stop.

When they find the broken birdcage, the door is ripped off, presumably in anger. This shows that Mr. Wright was in a fit of rage and wanted to once again put a stop to the singing of the bird, just as he had with his wife. If he weren't angry, he would have opened the door, but since it is ripped off, this shows the rage he felt.

Then they find the bird in the nice box, as if Mrs. Wright were going to bury it. It's neck is broken and the head is backwards, once again showing the rage of Wright. And how did Wright die? He was strangled, just like the bird.

They differ from the men in a very simple way. The men are looking for a motive, but are not thinking like a woman of that time period. They check outside, they check the bedroom, but ignore anything that they think of as feminine. The women, on the other hand, notice the birdcage because it is hidden in the kitchen, a room the men ignore except to say Mrs. Wright wasn't much of a cleaner. They find the bird in her sewing basket, another spot the men don't think to check. Even the quilt, which the men joke about, is proof something was bothering her.

This shows the gender roles of the time period. Men expected women to do "women" things like cooking and cleaning, when ironically the women solve the whole murder and are the smarter of the genders in this story.

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