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A Jury of Her Peers

by Susan Glaspell

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Who is the central character in “A Jury of Her Peers”?

In “A Jury of Her Peers,” Mrs. Martha Hale is the central character. Readers see the events of the story through Mrs. Hale's eyes, and Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters determine the outcome of the tale.

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The central character in Susan Glaspell's story “A Jury of Her Peers” is Mrs. Martha Hale. We see the events and hear the conversations through her point of view even though the story is told by a third-person narrator.

As the story opens, Mrs. Hale is grabbing for her scarf as she goes out the door. She doesn't like to leave in the middle of her work, but Mrs. Peters has requested that she come along. After all, they are going to the scene of a murder, and Mrs. Peters needs the support of another woman. As Mrs. Hale gets into the buggy, she observes Mrs. Peters, who is sitting beside her. Little does Mrs. Hale know that the two women are about to embark on something of an adventure.

Mrs. Hale continues to reflect on the events as they unfold. She has difficulty entering into the Wright home. She wishes that she would have gone over to visit Minnie more often, and she recalls the kind of person Minnie had been before her marriage.

While the men pursue their own investigation, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters logically and intuitively determine what really happened to Minnie Wright and why she likely killed her husband. They pay close attention to all the little things around the house that are important to women and that reveal Minnie's state of mind. Minnie's stitching, for instance, is uneven. The kitchen stove is broken. And of course, the women find the broken birdcage and the dead canary. They then understand the difficult, lonely life of abuse that Minnie Wright has been leading.

Mrs. Hale continues to reflect throughout on how Minnie Wright has changed, and along with Mrs. Peters, she decides not to tell the men what they have found and deduced. The women understand what the men never will. At the end of the story, Mrs. Hale puts the box containing the dead canary into her pocket.

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