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The Issue Of Legality Vs. Human Bonding In "A Jury Of Her Peers"

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In "A Jury of Her Peers" Susan Glaspell shows how human bonding can override legalities that society has. This is shown by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters bonding with Minnie by understanding her daily life as they are in her home. The two women feel a connection with Minnie because their lives are very similar to that of hers. By the two women understanding and having a connection with Minnie they notice the small trifles that leads to them finding evidence and motive for Minnie murdering her husband.

Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters were only in Minnie's home for a short period of time yet this revealed to them that Minnie was much like them. As Mrs. Hale was leaving her house to go with the others to Minnie's house she noticed something in her kitchen. "It was no ordinary thing that called her away -- it was probably further from ordinary than anything that had ever happened in Dickson county. But what her eye took in was that her kitchen was in no shape for leaving: her bread ready for mixing, half the flour sifted and half unsifted." (paragraph 1). Later while at Minnie's house, Mrs. Hale noticed something very similar: "She looked around the kitchen. Certainly it was not slicked up. Her eye was held by a bucket of sugar on a low shelf.

The cover was off the wooden bucket, and beside it was a paper bag --- half full. Mrs. Hale moved toward it. She was putting this in there, she said to herself -- slowly." (paragraph 108).

Mrs. Hale and Minnie are both a farmer's wife. They have a lot of duties to perform around the house in order to keep it running smoothly. Mrs. Hale takes up for Minnie when the county attorney is washing his hands. " 'Dirty towels! Not much of a housekeeper, would you say ladies?' He kicked his foot against some dirty pans under the sink. 'There's a great deal of work to be done on a farm,' said Mrs. Hale stiffly." (paragraph 80). Mrs. Hale knows how much work goes into being a farmer's wife and doesn't like the county attorney criticizing Minnie on her housework.

Mrs. Peters is the sheriff's wife and in the beginning of the story she believes that "the law is the law". (paragraph 143). As the story progresses, Mrs. Peters gains a better understanding of what life was like for Minnie and relates with her after the dead bird is found. "When I was a girl,' said Mrs. Peters, under her breath, 'my kitten -- there was a boy took a hatchet, and before my eyes -- before I could get there --' she covered her face an instant. 'If they hadn't held me back I would have' -- she caught herself, looked upstairs where footsteps were heard, and finished weakly -- 'hurt him.' "(paragraph 242). After Mrs. Peters has told Mrs. Hale this, she tells her something else that shows she is bonding with Minnie. "I know what stillness is,' she said, in a queer, monotonous voice. 'When we were homesteaded in Dakota, and my first baby died -- after he was two years old -- and me with no other then --'." (paragraph 254). Glaspell shows that Mrs. Peters is understanding and bonding with Minnie through similar life experiences. Ultimately the human bonding that Mrs. Peters has gained with Minnie has more of an effect on her than the legality of the situation.

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