Topics for Further Study
"A Jury of Her Peers" is based on Glaspell's own one-act play Trifles. Consider what reasons the author may have had for rewriting the play in short story form. What are the main differences between telling a story through narration and telling it through drama? How might the story be different if it were adapted as another form, such as a poem or a film?
Read Trifles and write an essay comparing the differences between the short story and the play. Which gives you a better idea of who Minnie is? Are there any improvements that you find notable in the short story? Any distractions?
Think about the significance of the title ''A Jury of Her Peers.'' What images might it evoke for a reader? What might it represent in relation to the story?
Glaspell's story demonstrates the domestic roles women were expected to live by at the turn of the century. Research how most women lived back then. What things have changed and how? What has remained the same? Why might some things have changed while others have not?
In what ways does "A Jury of Her Peers" resemble a classic murder mystery? In what ways does it differ from one? What do these similarities and differences say about justice and the duty of law-abiding citizens?
Suppose the situation in "A Jury of Her Peers" were reversed: Suppose John Wright had been a pleasant man, full of the love of life until his marriage to Minnie Foster, at which point he found himself thoroughly dominated by someone who specialized in non-stop belittling remarks and verbal abuse.
Suppose John were reduced to an emotional wreck after several years of this treatment, to the point that he killed Minnie; and suppose a handful of John's similarly dominated friends covered up the crime by removing small pieces of circumstantial evidence from the crime scene. How would your view of John's crime and his friends' "male solidarity" differ from your view of Minnie's crime and her friend's "female solidarity" in ' 'A Jury of Her Peers" ? Why?