“A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell

I, Mrs. Martha Hale, have proven that I could learn from others’ or own mistake. I have also realized the importance of doing something to solve a problem even if it appears too late, useless or helpless. I have evolved from a typical character of a woman in the early times – quiet, follower, tolerant, and submissive but I eventually took the initiative to stand for my rights as a woman. I learned that women should do something to prevent men from practicing social injustices and domestic violence by being courageous to promote change in the civil and political systems without aggression.

At first, I acted as if I respect or I am in favor of the law when I said, “What was the real crime here? Who’s going to punish that?” (1233 in Fisher & Silber, 2003, p. 291). I wanted to investigate and let the law take charge of the appropriate actions to the one who killed Mr. Wright. However, my true nature is different from how I reacted with the incident. In fact, I was concerned with Minnie Foster Wright. I expressed regret because the incident should not have happened if I visited Mrs. Wright. In addition, I suggested that she would be given the chance to quilt to pass the time while she is in jail. I realized that that Mrs. Wright was being maltreated by her husband and that Mrs. Wright would “die for lack of life” (Glaspell, 1946, p. 80) if I didn’t do anything to help her. Therefore, I decided to take the initiative and intervene (Angel, 1996) to mend our friendship. I also showed that I didn’t want any of my friends, like Minnie, to suffer again from the hands of the abusive men (Bigsby, 1982; Shafer & Lang, 1997). I and Mrs. Peters have come to protect Mrs. Wright by intentionally pulling the quilt stitching to be able to hide the dead canary. We did this because we wanted to eliminate the crucial signs of Mrs. Wright’s motive in killing her husband. As a result, the men in the jail have been unable understand what is happening and they interpret it as “women’s trifles” about quilting. The law enforcers then admit that Mrs. Wright is not guilty of murder because of the absence of evidence. What I did was a good example of an attempt to change or improve the legal policies or the law that do not give regard and importance to women.

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I declared “knot it” to imply about the reconstruction of the criminal justice system that undermines the female population (Yoshino, 2005). I learned that the real crime a person could commit is to refuse to understand or ignore the truth and to neglect others through communication. I helped Minnie because I knew that she suffered physically and emotionally from Mr. Wright. I also believe that killing her husband, which seems to be an execution or giving him the sentence illegally was the right thing to do. Mrs. Wright’s action is just a means to end something that violates human rights (Alkalay-Gut, 1984). Another important lesson that I realized is that it is better to do something risky for a good purpose than not to do anything at all because it is also a crime to fail to reach out to or save others, just like what I did for Mrs. Wright (Angel, 1996). In real life, I consider the caged bird and Mrs. Wright as representation of women’s suffering in their own lives, violence, and injustice which would eventually explode. I helped Minnie to let others realize the importance of doing or changing something that is not appropriate for the benefits of many people in every community or nation.

I have done something unusual, risky, and impossible for a woman in my time to accomplish. Helping Minnie was not an easy task to do because if only they caught me hiding something, like the evidence of her crime, I should have been with her and received more torture from the hands of men. They were the dominant members of the society and they were in control of the legal and social processes and in decision making. I wanted to show that women can do something to condemn or stop domestic violence and any form of abuse against women. I made mistakes but I did my best to understand Minnie’s situation. I tried my best to correct my actions to the extent of facing risks just to show how important it is to stand for what I believe in – all people deserve equality and freedom from oppression.

References

Alkalay-Gut, K. (1984) Jury of Her Peers: The Importance of Trifles. Studies in Short Fiction 21, 1-9.

Angel, M. (1996). ‘Criminal Law and Women: Giving the Abused Woman Who Kills a Jury of Her Peers Who Appreciate Trifles’ American Criminal Law Review 33(2), 229-348.

Fisher, J. ; Silber, E. S. (eds.) (2003) Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 291.

Glaspell, S. (1946). A jury of her peers. In J. Strode, (Ed.), Social insight through short stories (pp. 62-83). New York: Harper ; Bros.

Yoshino, K. (2005) The City and the Poet. Yale Law Journal 114(8), 1835+.

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