What evidence does the jury have against Mrs. Wright in A Jury of Her Peers?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Minnie (Foster) Wright is suspected of killing her husband, John, but she hasn't been arrested yet. This is why the men and their wives are at the Wright home, to collect evidence. The story reflects the roles of women and the attitudes of men toward women in the early twentieth century. The "jury" in the story is the two women who find enough evidence to get Minnie convicted, and her "peers" are the two women who feel a sisterhood with Minnie as women.

The women find enough evidence to convict Minnie, but they don't give it to their husbands.  They notice how Minnie changed from who she was before marriage to who she had become after marriage--a lonely woman who never got new clothes or got to go out and be with people. She had no friends. They remember she had a beautiful voice, see the bird cage, and conclude Minnie's only "friend" was a canary. The two women find the dead bird in Minnie's sewing things and figure John, her husband, must have killed the canary because he was a cruel, abusive man. Since the canary was Minnie's only friend, she had snapped and killed John for all of the years he had abused her and kept her isolated.

The men find no incrimnating evidence against Minnie and don't even consider that the two women would ever find anything since they're women. They don't share their findings with the men because their feelings of sisterhood are stronger than their loyalty to their husbands.