Describes symbolism in "A Jury of Her Peers"

Essay by HimiloverUniversity, Bachelor'sA, June 2003

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 157 times

A Jury of Her Peers

"It is the fate of a woman, long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost that is speechless, till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of its silence." (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). Longfellow's quote is a wonderful interpretation Susan Glaspell's short story, "A Jury of Her Peers". The story was written long before the modern women's movement began, and illustrates the role that women are expected to play in society. Therefore, it demonstrates how this highly stereotypical role can create tyranny for women and also bring harm to men through its use of symbolism.

Character names are very important in "A Jury of her Peers." The two characters, John and Minnie Wright, are the focus of the story. The name Minnie has significant symbolism. Minnie is derived from mini or minimized, which was very descriptive of her demoralized relationship with John and also the male insensitivity toward most women in society.

Women taking their husband's last names are also important in the story. The women in the story are not given first names, and are referred to only as Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. The role that society has placed upon them is defined by their husbands. Mrs. Peters, who is married to the sheriff, is viewed in those terms. Mr. Peters, the county attorney, says "for that matter a sheriff's wife is married to the law" (281). Mrs. Peters reinforces that identity until she is faced with the cruelty

of what John Wright did to Minnie. She says "I know what stillness is. The law has got to

punish crime, Mrs. Hale" (257). The difference is she is talking about the crime committed against Minnie, not the murder of John by Minnie.

The rocking chair is another important symbol in...