Jury Of Her Peers

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A Jury of Her Peers deals with the circumstances surrounding the death of a farmer, John Wright, who is found strangled in his bed. His wife is arrested for the murder with the story beginning the following day as the sheriff, the county attorney, the sheriff's wife, and a neighbor couple return to the Wrights' house. The women are there to pick out some clothes for the wife to wear while in prison and the men to investigate the crime scene.

The story subsequently focuses on the two women of the group, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale and their interpretations, understandings and realizations concerning the wife, Minnie Wright and the events and circumstances surrounding the death of her husband. From the beginning when Mrs. Hale sees the Wright house and reminisces about how "it had always been a lonesome-looking place" you get a feeling of isolation, loneliness and solitude. This view from the outside continues to carry over to the interior as the women make their way through the old house gaining insight into the life of Minnie Wright.

Dirty towels and pans, baking supplies left out, erratic stitching in a piece of quilting, and an empty bird cage with its door handle broken lead Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters to believe Minnie Wright must have been in a poor state. Mrs. Hale recalls Minnie Foster's vitality and how she enjoyed singing before her marriage to John Wright, who appeared to be a hard and stingy man. There seemed to be no evidence of the old Minnie Foster in the old dreary house. Ragged cupboards, a broken stove, shabby clothes and dingy old furniture in the cold colorless house further influences the womens opinion that Minnie Wright must have endured a hard, isolated and lonely life.

When the women find a dead canary wrapped in silk in a music box, seemingly the only source of pleasure Minnie Wright had had in her life, they know what has happened and why. Out of a sense of understanding and sympathy the two women wordlessly concede to hide the damaging evidence from their husbands. In essence, saving Minnie Wright from assured prosecution and conviction in her husbands death.