With a gun available to her, it seems ironic that the oppressed and apparently unassertive Mrs. Minnie Foster Wright would choose a brutal and strenuous method like strangling to kill her husband.
Early in the narrative, a neighbor to the Wrights, Mr. Hale, tells the county attorney what happened when he came to the Wrights' house the day before Mr. Wright's death. Mr. Hale mentions that he stopped to ask Mr. Wright if he would like to "take a telephone." At the time of this story, telephones were expensive for people who were far from town because of the added costs to the company in providing the lines and other necessary equipment. So, Mr. Hale hoped that he could get other neighbors to go in with him on a party line. Further, he tells the attorney that he planned on mentioning how much the womenfolk would enjoy having a telephone, although he says he "didn't know what his wife wanted made much difference to John--"
There are other suggestions that Mrs. Wright has surrendered to a life unlike her former one. One is recounted by Mrs. Hale as she talks with Mrs. Peters, the sheriff's wife. When Mrs. Peters gathers the articles of clothing that Mrs. Wright requested, Mrs. Hale notices the worn quality of this clothing, and she tells Mrs. Peters that Mr. Wright was "close." Mrs. Hale says,
"I think maybe that's why she [Mrs. Wright] kept so much to herself. I s'pose she felt she couldn't do her part; and then, you don't enjoy things when you feel shabby. She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively....one of the town girls, singing in the choir."
The little songbird that Mrs. Wright owned may have been quite meaningful to her as it sang when, in her depressed state, she herself no longer could. Perhaps, too, the death of this songbird carries a significance known only to Mrs. Wright. So rather than use her husband's gun or another weapon, she may have repaid the death of the sweet bird in kind—a form of poetic justice. Such brutality is ironic, or unexpected, given her submissive nature and Mr. Wright's oppresive acts. Nevertheless, frightened and angered women can exhibit a strength that they normally do not possess. Minnie Wright just might have had enough strength to "wring his neck" and strangle him unexpectedly, just as he strangled her precious bird.