“A Jury of Her Peers” Women are generally guided by emotion, and Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are no different. When discussing certain situations with a woman, it is likely that emotion will come into play at one point or another. In “A Jury of Her Peers” the women are no different; they stick together and struggle with the knowledge they have to decide whether or not to reveal evidence of motive. When two women discuss the motive for murder, they take seriously into account the emotions involved when it is a fellow woman that is to be convicted.
They come to the conclusion that silence after a “noisy” happiness is definitely a bad thing. Mrs. Peters is the higher-standing woman in the community, being married to the sheriff, so when it is her decision to hide crucial evidence that will surely lead to the conviction of Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Hale feels compelled to assist; also, because she feels emotionally connected to Mrs. Wright as well. Mrs. Hale thinks back to her untidy kitchen and gets slightly offended when Mr. Henderson, the county attorney, says that Mrs. Wright was not a good housekeeper (paragraph 80).
Mrs. Hale realizes that Mrs. Wright was surely in the middle of doing something in the kitchen when she was interrupted, as was Mrs. Hale when called to leave her house in such a hurry, thus convincing Mrs. Hale that it is not her housekeeping ability that is lacking. This emotionally connects Mrs. Hale with Mrs. wright. Mrs. Peters, however, is much more emotionally connected to Mrs. Wright, which is why she decided in the end to hide the convicting evidence from the men. Mrs. Peters knows what it’s like to lose, not only an animal, her kitten, but also a child.
When someone looks at their animals as if they are children, it is going to cause them emotional distress if something bad were to happen to that animal. When the bird is discovered in the pretty box, it is made clear that Mrs. Wright cared for the bird deeply, being that she wanted to bury the bird, and in such a nice box. When the women discover the truth about the dead bird, they decide that the best thing for a distraught Mrs. Wright would be if the men never know anything about the bird or its death. Mrs. Wright, formerly Minnie Foster, used to sing before she married. After her marriage, she got a bird that sings.
Mr. Wright, having already “killed” one form of singing, proceeds to do so with yet another form, the bird (paragraph 244). The bird is a reflection of Mrs. Wright’s pre-marriage personality, and when killed, it is essentially killing Minnie Foster again. The two women become sympathetic toward Mrs. Wright, backing up the desire to withhold the evidence of the dead bird. Meanwhile, the men are searching for evidence of motive, in order to convict Mrs. Wright. While the women are gathering belongings to take to Mrs. Wright, they discover an unfinished quilt that has some stitching that is out of place; Mrs.
Hale decides that it would make Mrs. Wright happy if she fixed the stitching for her. The women also discover that Mr. Wright was murdered in the same fashion that the bird was killed. Mrs. Petersrecalls when her kitten was killed right in front of her, and remembers that she had wanted to “hurt” the person responsible, however, she was being held back. At that, she understands the emotions controlling Mrs. Wright and becomes more sympathetic to her. Mrs. Peters, being “married to the law” (paragraph 281) is obviously controlled by emotion rather than law when she decides to conceal evidence of motive; the same way Mrs.
Hale is controlled by her sympathy when she decides to help Mrs. Peters withhold that evidence. Women are generally guided by emotion, and Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are no different. When the two women discuss the motive for murder, and seriously take into account the emotions involved when it is a fellow woman that is to be convicted, it is emotion that takes over. Emotion guides them through the entire story and leads to the decision they make involving the only evidence that reveals motive. If revealed, that evidence will surely convict Mrs. Wright, since all that is lacking is motive. Hannah Haile