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Symbolism in Jury of Her Peers

            In the story, "A Jury of Her Peers" written by Susan Glaspell, Minnie Wright is accused of murder of her husband. While the sheriff and other men are looking in the room upstairs for some evidence of a crime, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters not only find the evidence the men overlook, but start wondering if the woman could have been the victim. The story reveals, through Glaspell's use of symbolism, the role that women are expected to play in society. "Glaspell illustrates how this highly stereotypical role can create oppression for women and also bring harm to men as well" ("The Use"). Glaspell, through symbols, demonstrates how hard and unfair a woman's life was at the beginning of the nineteenth century. .
             Character names are very important in Glaspell's "A Jury of Her Peers." The name Minnie has significant symbolism derived from mini or minimized, suggesting something small and not important. "It is very descriptive of her relationship with John and also the male insensitivity toward most women in society" ("The Use"). Her role in the house is minimized to housekeeping and listening to John's every order. Her situation is even worse than other women because John believes the stereotypes that women should only take care of the house chores and nothing else should disturb her mind. This is suggested by what happened with the canary. This canary was a wasting of time, so this pleasure was taken from her. Very important and significant also is fact that women are taking their husband's last name. The women in the story are not given first names. Everyone refers to them as Mrs. Peters or Mrs. Hale. Their husbands define these women. Without their husbands, they would be nothing and because they are married, they feel privileged to be referred as to Mrs. Peters or Mrs. Hale. Mrs. Peters is viewed only as a sheriff's wife; Mr. Peters, the sheriff, says "for that matter a sheriff's wife is married to the law" (Glaspell 209).

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