January 31, 2005

Jury of Her Peers

Jerz: Am Lit II (EL 267) (Draft): Glaspell, ''A Jury of Her Peers''

As I started reading this, I thought, "Huh, this is like that story I've read a bazillion times before about the dead guy who got axed because he messed with his wife's bird." Halfway through I realized I was right and thus my opinion on this story is much easier to state.

The sexist overtones are obvious; the intent is to put down the women and let it look like the men are in control, and the bumbling housewives don't know any better. But with the investigation and cover up of evidence (like finishing sewing the blanket), they reveal that they are a lot smarter than they appear, and know the true intent of the murder.

The time period and context play one of the most important roles in any work of literature. Glaspell set up the men to look punctual, and straight-to-the-point. There is a change, however, when the men leave, it changes perspective. Even though the overtone of an unknowing housewife is still there from the first part of the story, through simple questions and actions the women get to work decompiling the mystery. The title even reflects that as well, since of course the ones with the real knowledge have a choice to frame or free the criminal.

Posted by at January 31, 2005 10:08 PM | TrackBack

Good observation about the change in perspective, and also good assessment of the title.

Do you still feel this is a sexist story?

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 3, 2005 04:58 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?