A Jury of Her Peers Short Summary
By the author Susan Glaspell, A Jury of her peers is considered one of the earliest forms of feminist pieces of literature. It is a short story about two women finding the solution to a crime that the men were unable to. It was published in 1917.
A Brief Overview of the Plot
The Story starts with Mrs. Hale getting rushed by her husband to accompany him to the buggy outside. There are other people at the buggy, which include Sheriff Henry and Mrs. Peters, and a county attorney. They are all headed to Minnie’s house where there has been a murder. Minnie and her husband John are the Wrights, and John has recently been found dead.
The party arrives at the house. Mr. Hale is asked to describe the events of the day when it occurred. He reveals that he and his son were on their way to take their farm produce from the farm to town, and they decided to stop at the wright’s residence to discuss the telephone lines. When they got there, they found Minnie alone on a rocking chair, and she seemed strange. When they asked to see John, she calmly replied that he was dead. Hale goes upstairs only to find John lying on the bed. He had died from being strangled. Minnie said that she had slept through it and did not hear anything.
Minnie got arrested and taken to jail while the sheriff and the others find clues about the murder. The men believe that she did it, but Henderson wants them to find evidence that gives a motive. They bypass the kitchen arrogantly citing that it would have none since it is a womanly place. The men go upstairs. The women, Mrs. Peters and Martha Hale realize that there are some half-done chores in the kitchen, meaning that Minnie got interrupted by something while in there.
They then discover Minnie’s quilt station. The men overhear the women talking about the quilts and laugh at their minor interests. The men head for the barn. The women notice a box among the materials for quilting, and there is a tiny box, and there was something pungent inside it. On opening it they a dead bird. It looked like it had died from strangling.
The men return, and Martha hides the box. When they leave again, Martha and Mrs. Peters realize that John might have killed the bird for singing and by doing so, broke Minnie’s heart. Martha reflects on how vengeful Minnie was, and they realize that the bird is the motive they needed to convict her. Martha feels sad because she had not been there for Minnie. The men lack the evidence they need, and the women say nothing of what they had found.