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Test 101, Week 1 Notes

by: Ellie Fireman
Ellie Fireman


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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ellie Fireman on Tuesday October 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to at 1 MDSS-SGSLM-Langley AFB Advanced Education in General Dentistry 12 Months taught by in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 55 views.


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Date Created: 10/04/16
Fireman 1 Ellie Fireman Professor Corey English 2367 30 September 2016 Critical Perspectives Paper “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell explores the role of women as both the suspect  and detective in a male­dominated society and legal system. In this literary criticism, I will be  analyzing “A Jury of Her Peers” through a feminist and gender perspective to prove that Mrs.  Hale and Mrs. Peters’ emotions were an asset to solving the investigation, contrary to the  standard, patriarchal belief that deemed women’s emotions as a weakness. As the two women  begin to not only empathize with Mrs. Wright, but also identify with her struggles as an  oppressed housewife, the parallels between all the women become very evident, thus uniting  them. The period that this short story took place, the early 1900s, men undoubtedly dictated  almost every aspect of life. It was common knowledge that men were identified with logic and  reason, while women were identified with emotion and fragility. More than once, the men in the  short story assert their superiority in the story by trivializing the many duties women are  responsible for and claim that women are only “used to worrying over trifles” (Glaspell 5).  However, what the men see as “trifles,” the women recognize as significant clues. The men  devalue the women by devaluing the limited amount of interests that they still have control over.  Because the men ignore the women's world, they remain blind to the truth, which is in front of  their eyes. Whereas men view women’s emotion as a weakness, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters  utilize their emotion to find clues because they are able to relate and empathize with Mrs.  Wright’s life of solitude. Only the two women can understand how Mrs. Wright felt and how she was neglected and abused by her husband. They see her “shabby clothes”, the “bad stove” she  Fireman 2 was forced to cook on, and that her husband, Mr. Wright, refused to buy her a telephone to  relieve her loneliness (Glaspell 7, 8). The men will never understand this part of Mrs. Wright's  life because they only view her as a poor housekeeper. When they observe the unkempt state of  the kitchen, they immediately conclude that Mrs. Wright lacks the critical “home­making  instinct” (Glaspell 5). In the ways that matter to the men, Mr. Wright was a good, and well  respected man, thus forming a unified front to protect Mr. Wright’s reputation. Because of this  male unification, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters developing a desire to protect their own gender. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters’ investigation process is a combination between the utilization  of their emotions, as well as observation. This union of emotion and observation is evident in  multiple discoveries, such as the irregular sewing on one piece of a quilt. Mrs. Peters takes  special notice to this and claims that “All the rest of them have been so nice and even­­but­­this  one. Why, it looks as if she didn't know what she was about!" (Glaspell 9). While the men would find that detail insignificant, the women realize that the messy sewing is a sign of nervousness.  When Mr. Wright killed the bird, he shattered the last bit of personality and individuality that  Mrs. Wright had. From the unfinished tasks in the kitchen and the irregular sewing on one piece  of a quilt, the women understand that an event out of the ordinary must have happened to cause  Mrs. Wright’s distress. They discover a broken bird cage that looks as if someone had been  rough with it. Finally, the women find the dead body of a songbird in Mrs. Wright’s sewing box,  tenderly wrapped in a piece of silk in preparation for burial. The women use these clues and  recognize Mr. Wright's cruelty to her, and how her marriage to him changed and eventually  imprisoned her, destroying her vitality and spirit. The women’s personal understanding of Mrs. Wright is based on the parallels between  their domestic world and realm of acceptable activities for women to participate in. Because of  Fireman 3 this ability to identify elements of their lives in Mrs. Wright’s life, they are able not only imagine her situation, but also her emotions. Their emotional intelligence enables them to put themselves  in her place and feel what she must have been feeling. After the women find the evidence of the  strangled canary in the box, Mrs. Peters is able to form a connection to Mrs. Wright’s great  feeling of misery, after the only thing she loved was taken away from her. Mrs. Peters recalls a  time when she was younger when a boy killed her kitten with a hatchet. She claims “if they  hadn't held me back I would have […] hurt him,” proving that she senses in herself the same  capability for violence that Mrs. Wright expressed (Glaspell 12). As both women face their own  powerlessness and inadequacy in a male­dominated society, they realize that they “all go through the same things­­it's all just a different kind of the same thing!” (Glaspell 12).  Additionally, the women also struggle with the knowledge that men dominate the legal  system as well, meaning that the people that are judging Mrs. Wright’s case, will not share the  women’s perspective. They will defend Mr. Wright, even with the knowledge of his continued  abuse towards his wife. Mrs. Wright will be judged and convicted by men whose views are no  different than Mr. Wright’s, and are incapable of putting themselves in her position. Therefore,  by concealing crucial evidence that would indicate Mrs. Wright’s guilt in the murder of her  husband, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are standing up for one of their own, ultimately becoming  the true investigators, the judge and the jury on Mrs. Wright’s case. In Catherine Forsa’s article, “Forensic Science and the Aesthetics of Affect in ‘A Jury of  Her Peers,’” she claims that the sheriff and the county attorney’s form of investigation is inferior  to that of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. The men only seem to care about finding physical evidence, while the women display “the importance of physical evidence and efforts to know –and  empathize with –the accused murderer” (Forsa 19). Forsa also calls attention to the men’s  Fireman 4 inadequate investigating skills by revealing their failure to search for clues in the correct places.  The men ignore the kitchen because they are convinced of its irrelevance to anything important,  while the women “identify the objects in Mrs. Wright’s kitchen as significant because they  consider what they can reveal about Mrs. Wright’s emotional state before the murder” (Forsa  20). Forsa’s idea in her article supports the idea I am claiming because we both agree that the  women’s empathy and emotions prove to be a valuable aspect to the investigation. Forsa  identifies the “ideal detective” as being “empathetic and observant, caring and scientific” (Forsa  23). While the “ideal detective” is usually described described as objective and unattached,  whereas being emotionally attached and present worked to Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters’  advantage. They were able to discover and analyze clues that the men were not aware of because  of their detached perspective.  Ultimately, although Mrs. Wright is the women being investigated, while Mrs. Hale and  Mrs. Peters are doing the investigating, there is no difference between the three women. They all  suffer from being entrapped by male figures of authority, as well as being confined by rigid  stereotypes. All three women mirror each other because they all endure the same oppressed  existence. However, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are able to break free by corrupting the male­ dominated justice system. In this situation, their actions liberated them from the strict confines of society’s expectations


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