This story is given through the perspective of two females which helps to portray the views of the writer. Throughout this story we are given background on Minnie but also given insight on how her life is now, and with this left to decide if she is guilty of the crime that was committed. While Minnie is the main focus of the story we are able to see the theme played out through two of the other characters, and also through a conflict of a decision that these women must make. The main theme of “A Jury of Her Peers” is that of sisterhood, women standing up for each other no matter the situation. Throughout the beginning of the story Mrs.
Hale is put in a situation where she can relate to Minnie, not of the anger or of the neglect, but of her house the way it was left, and being looked down upon for that.
Soon after leaving her house and arriving at the scene of the crime she is troubled by knowing how close Minnie was and that she had never reached out or visited her in over a year, and can’t help to think if she would have visited what might have been different. As the story continues Mrs. Hale is reminded of what a sweet girl Minnie was, how she used to sing so beautifully in the choir, and elegant and well-dressed she used to be (Glaspell 154).
From just these first few moments in the story Mrs. Hale is shown feeling pity for Minnie and remembering her as a nice girl who should be looked at as innocent. As the story continues to look into the character of Mrs. Hale she is seen relating her own life to Minnie’s and how hard it must have been for her to not to have any children and a husband that is not the caring type, but also so far away from anyone else. Again the remorse for Minnie is shown when Mrs. Hale sees her fruit ruined (153) and the patch of quilt that is so undone (156) and one can start to realize that Mrs.
Hale is putting herself in Minnie’s place. Towards the end of the story the bird is found dead wrapped up in a box after being strangled (159); revealing that Minnie had killed her husband. Instead of taking this evidence to the men who would feel no pity for Minnie, Mrs. Hale takes the box and hides it in her coat (162) showing how she is caring for and standing up for Minnie. As this is shown through the whole story Mrs. Hale is willing to hide the evidence so that the bigger picture of women’s unity is able to be shown. Another character that helps to reveal the theme of this story is Mrs.
Peters who is the sheriff’s wife and is referred to as being married to the law (161). As the story begins she is portrayed as a small woman that is quiet. While the story continues she starts to come out of her shell and like Mrs. Hale relate to Minnie, with all the work that needs to be done and the stress of being a woman. It is shown through her willingness to first take in some quilts for Minnie (158) but also by her curiosity of the bird cage (157) and what may have happened to Minnie’s only friend. In part this shows compassion for Minnie and shows Mrs.
Peter’s opening up into her own person that is able to think on her own. The theme continues to be shown through Mrs. Peter’s character after the dead bird is found and she decides to keep it hidden from her husband and the attorney (161). Then the final showing of her caring and standing by Minnie is when she allows Mrs. Hale to have the box and hide it showing that the two women were never going to speak of this bird again, but also that she was willing to go behind her husband’s back so that Minnie had a better chance of being set free (162).
This shows the care she has for another woman even though she has never even met her it is important that these women stay together throughout life and look out for one another. Again the theme is shown throughout this story in a conflict. The whole story is based upon a conflict of what happened and who had killed Mr. Wright, but the real conflict lies with the two ladies that came to the house. What would they do when faced with the decision of standing up for a fellow woman which struggles they could relate to or give up the evidence that would lock her away for good.
When the story begins it is shown that neither of these woman have deep connections with Minnie one only knows her from when she was a child while the other not at all. From this it can be seen that the women originally are terrified by what has happened but do not truly want to be involved. Continuing along however the similarities of these women’s lives with Minnie’s are shown, and the caring for another women or the protection for her is brought out in their decision to hold the evidence that would prove her guilty so that she is able to hopefully be free.
Lastly, the mood should be recognized as a huge part of showing the theme of this story. From the beginning it is a very dreary mood that is tied to the death of Mr. Wright but as the story continues we are able to see the mood change over to caring and compassionate due to the women relating their lives to Minnie’s. Towards the end of the story the mood is shown as more of calm or peaceful because the women are able to come to the conclusion of hiding the evidence to save Minnie. The overall theme is able to be shown as sisterhood, or the women willing to stand up for one another no matter what the circumstances.
Through these two characters we are able to see their caring nature for another women and the sympathy they put towards her. Also through the conflict that arises in whether to show the evidence they found and their final decision in that helps to display the theme to the readers. Finally through the mood of this story the theme is portrayed in the women coming together to make a decision that helps to lighten the mood. This story gives a great depiction of the coming together of women and the care they have for each other.