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A Jury of Her Peers

by Susan Glaspell

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Who is Minnie Foster in "A Jury of Her Peers"?

Quick answer:

Minnie Foster was the name of Minnie Wright before she got married. Minnie Foster was a cheerful, singing girl in pretty clothing, but all that changed when she married John Wright.

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In Susan Glaspell's story “A Jury of Her Peers,” Minnie Foster is simply Minnie Wright's name before she was married.

Mrs. Hale remembers Minnie Foster as a cheerful, lively young girl with pretty clothes. She always sang in the choir. She was “real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and—fluttery,” Mrs. Hale remarks. Minnie Foster was kind of like a little bird, always singing, always ruffled, always a bit shy, yet seemingly happy.

Minnie Foster married John Wright twenty years ago, and her life changed completely. Indeed, Minnie Wright is by this time hardly the same person as the Minnie Foster of old. Mr. Wright is a “hard man,” Mrs. Hale says, and the state of Minnie's house proves it. Minnie lives in shabby clothing. Her stove is broken. The birdcage's door has been twisted off its hinges.

Indeed, Minnie Wright has probably long suffered at the hands of her husband. She has lived in a place that is lonesome and far less than cheerful, according to Mrs. Hale. Minnie has stopped trying to keep up with her housework, and the stitches on her quilt are uneven, revealing her agitation of mind and shakiness of hand.

Perhaps the final straw came when Mr. Wright killed Minnie's pet canary. This actually symbolizes the death of “Minnie Foster.” The cheerful young girl who once sang and wore pretty clothing is just as dead as the bird.

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