What is the main conflict in "A Jury of Her Peers"?

The main conflict in "A Jury of Her Peers" is the differing perspectives of men and women as the story's characters try to discover Minnie Wright's motive for murdering her husband.

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The main conflict in “A Jury of Her Peers” is one of perception as three men and two women try to discover Minnie Wright's motive for murdering her husband.

No one has any real doubt that Minnie is the culprit. Her behavior is so strange, and the circumstances...

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The main conflict in “A Jury of Her Peers” is one of perception as three men and two women try to discover Minnie Wright's motive for murdering her husband.

No one has any real doubt that Minnie is the culprit. Her behavior is so strange, and the circumstances all point directly to her. Yet the men (Sheriff Peters, Lewis Hale, and county attorney George Henderson) cannot figure out why Minnie would have resorted to murder. They cannot see any reason for it, no matter how hard they look.

Of course, the two women, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, approach the issue from a much different perspective. While the men examine the crime scene upstairs, the women focus their attention on Minnie's domestic domain. Perhaps smarting a bit from Mr. Hale's remark about women not knowing a clue if they found one, they look around carefully with an eye to detail.

Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale notice many things. The stove is broken. Minnie's clothing is shabby. Mrs. Hale remembers Minnie as a young girl. She was pretty and cheerful then, always singing, but in these past years, she has kept to herself, perhaps embarrassed by her clothes. Mrs. Peters can sympathize with Minnie's loneliness.

The women continue to explore from their unique female perspective, and they notice the uneven stitching on Minnie's quilt. This is unusual, and they know it reveals agitation. They also see an empty, broken birdcage. A bit later, they find a dead canary among Minnie's sewing things, and they realize that Minnie's husband must have ripped open the cage's door and wrung the bird's neck in a fit of anger. They understand that Minnie has been emotionally abused, and Mrs. Hale remembers what she felt like when a boy once killed her kitten.

All of these things seem like mere trifles, but the women understand their importance, and together they add up to the motive the men are seeking. Yet the women say nothing. The men would merely laugh at them anyway, judging their perspective to be silly. So Mrs. Hale puts the bird in her coat pocket, and she and Mrs. Peters allow the men to struggle with their own faulty perspective.

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