In a "Jury of her peers", the men (Mr. Hale, Mr. Peters, and Mr. Henderson) and the women (Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters) think about the question of Mrs. Wright's guilt in different ways. We see these different approaches to the question of Mrs. Wright’s guilt in the way that the men and the women try to piece together the information regarding what happened at the Wright’s home the night that Mr. Wright was killed. A closer examination of the different scenarios reveals some element of conspiracy in the manner in which the matter is handled by the two parties. Is there an aspect of self interest in the whole matter? Are Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters merely trying to support to their friend? What is the motive behind the actions of these men and women? The essay will establish the extent to which a shared view regarding society’s negative outlook on the role of the woman, poor gender relationships, deceit, and contempt for men inspire the conspiracy between Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters, consequently causing them not to reveal details of the murder
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Mrs. Hare and Mrs. Peters share a common view regarding the manner in which the American society looked down upon the woman through poor role definition. In the text, there are several instances in which the men actually demean the woman by affirming to the women how they belong to their men no matter what. “No; Mrs. Peters doesn’t need supervising. For that matter, a sheriff’s wife is married to the law. Ever think of it that way, Mrs. Peters?” (Glaspell 24). In this society, when a woman is married, she loses the right to claim anything to herself by pledging allegiance to her husband, whom she is expected to serve and obey almost like a servant. Thus, the murder of Mrs. Wright provides the women an opportunity to reclaim their lost glory and in the process reveal the estranged gender relationships.
The existence of poor gender relationships in this society serves as an ingredient that elevates the level of uncooperativeness and mistrust of one another during the inquiry process. This can be seen in the manner in which they undermine the investigation by making it look like the men are actually wasting their time. According to Kaplan, in the context of Mr. Wright’s murder investigation, the women (Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters) made a decision that the crime committed was not the murder the of Minnie Foster’s husband’s nor the act of Minnie’s husband abandoning her, but rather the manner in which they had neglected her suffering under Mr. Wright’s care (Glaspell 42). Thus, due to the poor gender relationship, the women would rather side with their friend by undermining the very essence of the law. This action strengths the men’s view regarding deceit.
Indeed, the desire to remain dishonest throughout the investigation and trial is driven by the women’s low view of men’s actions. This is what guides them to deny revealing Mr. Wright’s character when he was alive. “He didn’t drink, and kept his word as well as most, I guess, and paid his debts. But he was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to pass the time of day with him” (Glaspell 18-19). To affirm this statement, Mrs. Hales observes “I should think she would have wanted a bird!” (Glaspell 19). This statement is the exact opposite of Mr. Wright’s real trait, which the women knew too well prior to the incident. In fact, through such denial, the level of contempt becomes very apparent.
The women affirm their contempt for the men’s approach to the issue by downplaying the big picture. As a result, they resort to concentrating on the ‘trifles’, which represent the small and meaningless things. Mrs. Hales affirms “our taking up our time with little things while we are waiting for them to get the evidence. I don’t see it’s anything to laugh about” (Glaspell 15). Here they make fun of the men’s action by stress ‘anything to laugh about’ while in actual sense it is almost like they are laughing at the men for skipping clear evidence. For example, while making reference to the details of the sewing machine she remarks “all the rest of them have been so nice and even but this one. Why, it looks as if she didn’t know what she was about!” (Glaspell 15-16). Finally, they achieve their contempt towards the men by covering up for Mrs. Wright in the process rendering the investigation useless.
In the end, we are able to see the extent to which a shared view regarding society’s negative outlook on the role of the woman, poor gender relationships, deceit, and contempt for men inspire the conspiracy between Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters, consequently causing them not to reveal details of the murder. Using their approach, the women succeed in outwitting the men in a kitchen setting, which is traditionally the woman’s docket going by society’s view of the woman. There is clear motive behind their action, which is to erase Mrs. Wright from the murder scene. The motive is carried through to the Jury process, but male dominated principles undermine it. The statement being said indirectly by the women is that Mr. Wright’s action was justified. Thus, by showing no remorse, Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters affirm the message that women deserve to be treated better.