Why are Mrs.Hale and Mrs.Peters trying to concoct the stories about canary? What are they trying to do?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Susan Glaspell's short story "A Jury of her Peers", which is an adaptation of the play Trifles, the character of Mrs. Hale is asked by her husband,Lewis, to go with him to a crime scene along with the district attorney and the town sheriff. Her job would be to keep the Sheriff's wife, Mrs. Peters, company while the scene is investigated.

Since the men are biased against the fact that the murder suspect is a woman who kills her husband, the ladies begin to make observations about the suspect, whom they had known from the vicinity.

As the women do an impromptu investigation on their own, they start realizing that the murder suspect is undoubtedly a victim of spousal abuse. They now realize that the woman must have snapped.

The evidence is found when they see the cage of the canary violently open and no canary inside. They find the bird later on, hidden and wrapped as in a burial. Immediately the women connected with the murder suspect: The husband obviously took the canary, her only company, and broke its neck.

Hence, something had to be done to avoid letting anyone know about this. Otherwise, the men will know that the woman had done to her husband what he did to her bird in a moment of violent desperation. The two women are basically trying to get rid of major evidence that would put the woman on death row.

Martha Hale sprang up, her hands tight together, looking at that other woman, with whom it rested. At first she could not see her eyes, for the sheriff's wife had not turned back since she turned away at that suggestion of being married to the law. But now Mrs. Hale made her turn back. Her eyes made her turn back. Slowly, unwillingly, Mrs. Peters turned her head until her eyes met the eyes of the other woman. There was a moment when they held each other in a steady, burning look in which there was no evasion nor flinching. Then Martha Hale's eyes pointed the way to the basket in which was hidden the thing that would make certain the conviction of the other woman -- that woman who was not there and yet who had been there with them all through that hour.

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A Jury of Her Peers

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