Susan Glaspell

A Jury of Her Peers

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A Jury of Her Peers Essay Topics

  1. Why do Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale hide the crucial evidence that proves Mrs. Wright’s motive in the murder of her husband from the men? Explain the significance in terms of one of the themes of the story.
  1. Why does Mrs. Hale feel guilty for not visiting Mrs. Wright? How does her guilt influence the outcome of the story? Does Mrs. Peters feel the same guilt? What is this guilt based on? Explain.
  1. Discuss Glaspell’s use of setting in this story. The Wright’s kitchen in particular plays a crucial role in the plot. How does the house and overall setting relate to and describe a theme of the story? Explain.
  1. Describe Glaspell’s use of an omniscient third-person narrator. What effect does her narrative voice have on your understanding of the different characters? Specifically, how does Glaspell use the omniscient narrator to reveal the men’s attitudes towards women and women’s roles? How does Glaspell use the omniscient narrator to reveal the women’s beliefs about themselves and about Minnie Wright? Explain.
  1. What is the significance of the characters being called by their married or formal names? For example, Mrs. Peters’ first name never appears in the story. What effect does this have on our view of her character? At many points, Mrs. Hale thinks of Minnie Wright as Minnie Foster. Why does she do this, and what does it reveal about both Minnie Foster and Mrs. Hale? Be sure to include at least three characters in your discussion. Other suggestions include: Mrs. Hale, Mr. Hale, and Sheriff Peters.
  1. What was Minnie Foster Wright’s life like? How did her character change after her marriage to John Wright? What is Glaspell saying about Minnie’s guilt or innocence? Describe her character in terms of the theme of isolation and loneliness. Be sure to account for her response to the death of her canary.
  1. In a way, Mrs. Hale acts as Minnie Wright’s defense attorney, arguing her case to convince Mrs. Peters to help Minnie by hiding the dead bird. How successful is Mrs. Hale in convincing…
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