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A Jury of Her Peers

by Susan Glaspell

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What is the relationship between Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale in their reactions to Mrs. Wright?

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Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale initially have a distant relationship but grow closer as they empathize with Mrs. Wright's plight. Initially strangers, they bond over their shared understanding of Minnie’s hardships, culminating in a silent agreement to protect her by hiding evidence. Their solidarity develops through shared experiences and mutual recognition of the challenges faced by women in their community.

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Martha Hale and Mrs. Peters don't know each other well as they travel to Minnie Wright's farm with their husbands on a cold morning. Mrs. Hale thinks that the small, slight Mrs. Peters doesn't look like a sheriff's wife. Mrs. Hale has lived in this community all her life and Mrs. Peters is a newcomer, creating a separation between them at first.

But as the day goes by and they realize what Minnie was coping with, they grow much closer. Mrs. Peters says to Martha:

"But I'm awful glad you came with me, Mrs. Hale." Mrs. Peters put the bird-cage on the table and sat down. "It would be lonesome for me—sitting here alone."

"Yes, it would, wouldn't it?" agreed Mrs. Hale.

By the end of story, they are united in their sympathy for Minnie. They don't want the men to find the dead canary that could implicate Minnie as a murderer. They are close enough now that they can communicate this through their eyes. When the men are coming and Mrs. Peters is unable to bring herself to touch the delicate dead bird, Mrs. Hale quickly sweeps it into the pocket of her coat to hide the evidence.

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Mrs Hale is asked to join the men as they leave to investigate the suspicious death of Mr Wright. She is asked along to keep Mrs Peters – the sheriff’s wife – company. They do not know each other well—

 She had met Mrs. Peters the year before at the county fair.

Mrs Hale knew Minnie, but has not seen her for a long time, and has not really spent time with her since she married-

 she still thought of her as Minnie Foster, though for twenty years she had been Mrs. Wright.

Mr Hale had been at the house the day before, and has been asked to recount the events. Mrs Hale is worried for her husband as she is aware of his inadequacies-

Mrs. Hale, still leaning against the door, had that sinking feeling of the mother whose child is about to speak a piece.

Mrs Peters is much more reserved, and is trusted by the men as a result-

 "Of course Mrs. Peters is one of us," he said, in a manner of entrusting responsibility.

At first,Mrs Hale does not feel a connection with Mrs Peters, but as the story unfolds they develop an understanding of each other and Minnie. 

It is after they discover the dead canary that the two women realize that there is a common bond between them and Minnie. Mrs Peters reminisces over the killing of her kitten by a local boy. She says that she would have ‘hurt him’ had she not been restrained. Mrs Hale deduces that the loss of the bird would have been terrible for Minnie-

 "If there had been years and years of--nothing, then a bird to sing to you, it would be awful--still--after the bird was still."

Mrs Peters describes her emptiness after the death of a child, and Mrs Hale expresses the unseen link between the three women-

"I might 'a' known she needed help! I tell you, it's queer, Mrs. Peters. We live close together, and we live far apart. We all go through the same things--it's all just a different kind of the same thing! If it weren't--why do you and I understand?

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