Your literary analysis will essentially be a compare/contrast essay where you will explore both the similarities and differences between your analysis of Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” and the main claim made by Simso in her essay. Your essay MUST include at least one paraphrase and one direct quotation from both the short story and Simso’s essay. Your essay must be between 650-750 words long.
- Don’t forget to use your outline! Be sure to follow the organizational structure of your outline.
- I will be using the District Wide Grading Rubric to assess this essay. Please remember to proofread your essay carefully before you upload it to Canvas.
- Upload your essay as a PDF. If I cannot open your document, you will not receive credit for it. I will not make any exceptions.
- DO NOT FORGET TO INCLUDE A WORK CITED PAGE. Failure to include a work cited page will result in a failing grade on this essay. Your works cited page should contain entries for the short story and Crystal’s essay.
- Remember that your essay must be formatted in MLA style. This means that all text should be typed in 12pt. Times New Roman font. Remember to include all appropriate headers and to double-space all text. Remember not to include extra space between paragraphs of the same style. Don’t forget to give your essay an original title.
- Be mindful that this is a formal essay. As such, you should avoid using the second person, contractions, and any vague or informal diction. Remember to avoid expletive sentence structure.
Running head: A JURY OF HER PEERS
A JURY OF HER PEERS
“A JURY OF HER PEERS” ANALYSIS
· According to “Twelve Good Men or Two Good Women: Concepts of Law and Justice in Susan Glaspell’s ‘A Jury of Her Peers,'” Mary Bendel-Simso suggests there is a gender inequality endemic to the legal system. I agree with this suggestion, but I would add that women’s marginalization was not just limited to the legal system in 1900. It was also the case in the broader society, where women had minimal rights.
· Mrs Wrights is considered the main suspect of the murder. In the early 20th century, women’s role in society was considered a trifle and the legal system was male-dominated. Mrs Hale and Mrs Peters are committed to Mrs Wright as they realize that all women have experienced isolation because of oppressive gender roles as wives were subjected to their husbands’ wills. Mr Peters is amazed and amused that Minnie could worry about her domestic projects in the face of her serious situation; Mr Hale responds that “women are used to worrying over trifles” (Glaspell). The law is designed, enforced, and controlled by the men, which means that Minnie Wright would not be charged fairly in a legal court by her peers’ jury. When Mrs Peters and Mrs Hale discover the dead bird, they hide it, which is an act of rebellion against the male-dominated system’s power. Mrs Peters and Mrs Hales have become loyal to Mrs Wright as they confirm that they are only considered homemakers who only think about their homes and cannot make a sound decision on critical matters.
The story analyses different ways men and women approach the murder investigation. The men who are representatives of the legal system believe that Mrs Wright is the killer and are seeking motives of retribution fuelled by vengeance (Bendel-Simso). The women become Mrs Wright jury and are not only focused on the death of Mr Wright. The women recognize the isolation present in Mrs Wright’s life. “She hasn’t seen Minnie join activities with other women recently and wonders if she was ashamed of her poor appearance. This idea of Minnie contrasts strongly with her memory of the unmarried Minnie Foster as a lively and beautiful girl.” (Glaspell). The women view Mr Wright’s death as closure and not beginning as Mrs Wright’s isolation would end. As they go through Mrs Wright’s belongings, they realize that she had not been involved in the community gatherings and other women’s societies. Mrs Hale and Mrs Peters decide to appoint themselves protectors of Mrs Wright. As the men seek justice for their fellow peer members, the women decided to investigate to seek justice for their fellow women. The men fail to see the facts of the situation, but the women do by trying to deduce Mrs Wright’s life before she was married and after.
As the story continues, the title can be deduced by the different investigations conducted by the men and by the women. The men seek justice for Mr Wright while the women are trying to understand Mrs Wright’s life. The women are Mrs Wright’s peers, and they understand the details of facts left in the house by Mrs Wright. The house management gives a glimpse of the life of Mrs Wright as a wife. Mrs Hale accepts her part for guilt in Minnie’s life ” she had lived neighbour to that girl for twenty years and let her die for lack of lie”, and she asks Mrs Peters, “that was a crime! Who is going to punish that?” (Glaspell). Mrs Hale and Mrs Peters silently destroy the evidence that would hang Mrs Wright, the priority of empathy as the source of justice is delineated (Bendel-Simso).
The title “A Jury of Her Peers” should be considered the main theme of the story. When seeking justice, when deciding if the accused is guilty of the crime or not, the justice system should provide the accused’s peers to understand and empathize with the accused’s life. In this story, the men were seeking justice for Mr Wright while the women were trying to understand Mrs Wright’s life as a wife and house-maker.