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A Jury of Her Peers Essay

Even though Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” is a brief piece of literature, it is tightly packed with meaning from start to finish. Symbols are utilized throughout the story to convey a range of different concepts. One of the story’s recurring themes is the idea of losing one’s childhood innocence (Glaspell, 5). This central topic runs through everything that happens in the book, from the plot twists to the characters’ motivations. Martha Hale withholds facts that might prove to be a contributing reason to Minnie Wright’s murder of her husband John in Susan Glaspell’s novel “A Jury of Her Peers”. Men in the story attack the housekeepers of Mrs. Wright’s house once they arrive, and Mrs. Hale defends herself. Mrs. Hale feels sorry for Mrs. Wright since she has met her and her husband and knows how Mr. Wright was while he was alive. Mrs. Hale, who hasn’t visited in over a year and thinks she should have done more, is overcome with emotion as she tells the story. When Mrs. Hale learned that the bird symbolized their marriage, she felt a deep sense of responsibility to protect and support Mr. and Mrs. Wright’s daughter (Glaspell, 7). It tackles the battle for equality among women, men’s assumption that males are somehow superior to women, and the force of a connection established by women who are weary of being subordinate to men in A Jury of Her Peers

As a literary device, the loss of innocence may be used to explain a character’s past or explain a character’s motivation. Using “A Jury of Her Peers” as an example, it is used for both. This is a recurring topic in the work, and it is shown through a number of significant symbols. The first time Minnie wears her favorite gowns is when the two ladies go shopping for them. When Mrs. Hale saw Wright, she gasped, bringing up a worn black skirt that had undergone a remarkable transformation. “To me, it explains why she was so private at first. When you’re not feeling well, it’s difficult to have fun, so maybe she didn’t want to be bothered (Glaspell, 15). When she was Minnie Foster, one of the town ladies in the chorus, she loved dressing up and having a good time. However, it was more than twenty years ago.” It is stated that Minnie’s loss of innocence, as well as the loss of her previous personality, is represented by the attire. Eventually, the two women come upon the bird cage again later in the book and bring up the matter once again. Immediately after Minnie’s declaration that she was “kind of like a bird,” Mrs. Hale and the children set out to find out what had become of the bird. Even though it is moving in timid, fluttered manners, the bird is delicate and beautiful. ‘Could you perhaps explain to me how she has progressed?'” Minnie’s seclusion from the outside world, which started with her birth, is symbolized by the cage she is kept in.

They must first locate this sign in order to go to the most important symbol in this story: the dragon. The bird’s cage, to which Mrs. Hale compares Minnie at one point in the novel, serves as a metaphor for Minnie’s innocence and the ultimate obstacle standing between her and happiness at another time in the story. When taken into consideration, the ladies’ discovery of the bird’s ringed neck provides a clear explanation for the whole situation. At this stage, a critical indicator has been developed, and it is a bird. Minnie’s long journey of losing her innocence comes to an end with the death of the bird, and the tale comes to a close (happiness). It also represents a watershed moment. Minnie, in reaction to the death of the bird, murdered her husband (most likely in self-defense) in an act of retaliation (Glaspell, 1). The bird represents both the reason for Minnie’s (reported) murder of her husband John and the method by which she (supposedly) did it. They were eventually able to comprehend what had occurred that night: “killing a person while they were sleeping sliding something around their neck and choking them to death,” they said. It is suggested that Mr. Wright’s death by hanging is analogous to the stress-induced bird’s neck shown in the book. It is Minnie who uses the phrase “innocence (bird)” as a metaphor for the suffering she wishes her husband to experience. The literary depth of this narrative would be much diminished if the bird were not included.

A multiplicity of symbols are used in Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” to represent the many issues that it discusses, the most significant of which is the loss of innocence, in order to depict the various themes. It is the choice of this subject that emphasizes the gravity of what transpired in Minnie Foster’s house. A lack of this would make it impossible for the reader to discern the genuine meaning of what has been written.

Work cited

Glaspell, Susan. “A jury of her peers.” Images of Women in Literature (1917): 370-85.


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