A Jury Of Her Peers: Literary Analysis

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“Those towels get dirty awful quick. Men’s hands aren’t as clean as they might be.” This familiar statement expresses the belief that men are always looked upon as innocent due to the level of dominance men have over women. The women who helped in the murder investigation understand the reason behind Minnie Foster’s decision in murdering her husband, however, the men investigating are blind to the situation. In “A Jury of her Peers,” Minnie Foster feels trapped by her own husband and completely diminishes her light, taking away what she loves. Mr. Wright killed her in the inside so, in return, she took his life.

“Oh, well, woman are used to worrying over trifles,” Mr. Hale declares without thinking. This expression shows the men’s perspective towards the interests of women in which they find it insignificant. These trifles represent the blindness of the men to the significance of Minnie’s valuables which could’ve helped in the investigation but chose to ignore these “insignificant” items. Since the men overlook the importance of both the women and their interests, they weren’t able to discover the truth about Minnie herself and her actions. Instead, the women discover the evidence but they are turned down due to the men’s belief of insignificant information. Women have always been viewed as inferior compared to men, therefore, the information that the men looked for was ignored because women were not as intelligent as men. At the time, society subjected women in which men only trusted their own opinion and thinking without hesitation.

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Society is controlled by men due to the women’s inability to choose her own interests or to be known as themselves rather than be known by their husband’s identity. One of the women, Martha Hale, still refers Minnie Wright as Minnie Foster, indicating that when a woman marries, they experience the name change which is owned by their husband. Moreover, her own separate personality is lost because her individuality is defined by her husband’s existence. One component that demonstrates the level of dominance men have over women and the existing gender roles, is the fact that women are defined as the housekeepers. They are obligated to stay at home, keep the house tidy, and provide their husband with food which results in the loneliness that Minnie Foster endured. The men in the story criticize the women for their weaknesses and devalue the only items the woman have control over of. However, the woman began to realize the situation that they have been held to and can relate to Minnie Foster’s situation because they have also experienced the loneliness, isolation and the form of mistreatment the men have instilled. Once they acknowledge the fact that they have shared the same experience, they see themselves a group of women who have the inability to judge another who have endured the same mistreatment.

Mr. Wright mistreated Minnie Foster which led to his death, however, in the story it mentions a dead bird in a cage which represents the way Mr. Wright treated his wife. Back in the day, Minnie loved to sing with her lovely personality, but it slowly started to diminish due to her husband. The bird symbolizes Minnie in which the death of the bird, caused by her husband, represents the killing of her happiness, singing. Minnie was trapped in her marriage and felt like there was no escape, the bird in the cage represents this feeling that she experienced. In addition, killing of the bird depicts the killing of Minnie’s hope which caused her to kill her husband after many years of emotional abuse.

The women in the story related to Minnie Foster’s situation because they have all experienced the same mistreatment from men. They understand the reason behind her actions while the men would have punished her without considering the way that Minnie felt. This demonstrates the male obliviousness to women significance and how men have power and control over women. Gender roles plays an important role in this story, it shows how women are defined and how they are inferior to men. Once the woman acknowledges the way they have been treated, they come together and unite as one, “a jury of united women.”


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