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A Jury of Her Peers

by Susan Glaspell

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Where is Minnie Wright during the events of "A Jury of Her Peers"?

Quick answer:

Martha and Mrs. Peters are Minnie's peers because they understand how Minnie feels, both in terms of the pressures of being a woman in a male-dominated world, and in terms of the situation between her and her husband. They are also not particularly her peers on a social level, though Martha was once her peer as a girl growing up. If you have any questions or comments about this story or the short answer above, please leave them below.

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During Glaspell's classic short story "A Jury of Her Peers," Minnie Wright does not appear in her own house. Instead, she is absent. To be specific, she's in jail. This is indicated in passing, through conversation.

When Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are talking about what happened, and why they are there, the subject of Mrs. Wright wanting them to bring her apron to her comes up. Mrs. Peters says, "…there's not much to get you dirty in jail, goodness knows." This indicates Mrs. Wright is in jail, and that she's likely to stay there for long enough to need things from home. Just as Mrs. Wright's place in her home played a role in the crime, her place in the jail plays a role in how the women make sense of things.

The only other places Minnie Wright appears in the story are in the dialogue among the characters (mainly Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters), and in their memories.

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In the story "A Jury of Her Peers," who are Minnie Wright's peers and why?

Minnie's peers are other women--those who understand the pressures of having to take whatever the man dishes out, so to speak. Specifically, they are Martha Hale and Mrs. Peters. 

Martha knew Minnie as a girl, so she is clearly older than Minnie and is therefore not particularly her peer because of age.  Mrs. Peters is the Sheriff's wife, a position much higher than that of Minnie, so she's not really Minnie's peer on a social level.  However, both are women who understand what happened in this relationship and what happened to Minnie to cause her to commit such a drastic act of violence against her husband.  That's what makes them her peers.

Their dilemma in "A Jury of her Peers" is whether or not to tell what they've observed, which is obviously more of a problem for the wife of a sheriff than for a fellow farm wife.  What they decide, in their unspoken jury deliberations, is that the men who are investigating would probably not believe them, and the men on the jury would probably convict her (without any real understanding of her circumstances) if they did hear all the evidence.   Thus, Minnie's jury of peers conducted a trial, and they found her innocent.

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