A Jury of her Peers is a short story by Susan Glaspell. The short story A Jury of her Peers begins with Mrs. Hale leaving her house to join her husband, Sheriff Peters and his wife, and county attorney George Henderson (Pg 1). The five head to Mrs. Wright’s house to investigate the death of her husband. The previous day, Mr. Hale had found John Wright dead on his bed with a rope around his neck. While her husband lies dead in the bedroom above, Mrs. Wright appeared calm and somehow removed from the situation. Mr. Hale reports the crime and as the suspect of her husband’s murder Mrs. Wright is taken into custody. That is how the five people end up in her house-the crime scene to investigate the crime. A Jury of Her Peersand the play Trifles are extremely similar. Trifles was created one year before A Jury of Her Peers. Most of the dialogue in the short story is lifted from the play. In this paper I will analyze the differences in the two works that resulted from the choice and genre.
The most evident difference between the two works is their respective titles. The difference in title shows the different focuses in the play and the story. The title trifles implies that the play focuses on the objects that judge Minnie. As the play progresses from ne episode to another, a new object is introduced that lets us know about the events that led to the death of John Wright. On the other hand, A jury of Her Friends lets the reader know from the on set that the story will focus on Minnie’s friends and not her crime. The short story is more elaborate in details especially of the characters interaction. The story gives more insight of the characters which is different from the insights the audience would have gained from watching the play. In the play, judgment is solely deduced from the objects that are found in each episode while in the play, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters give more insight of their judgment of Minnie by how they react on finding the objects.
In a play, the audience have to make their own judgments of characters based on how they are portrayed on stage while stories are more descriptive of characters in the absence of a stage. The Short story was more insightful than the play as it describes the characters and their reactions more profoundly. The characterization of male characters is different in both the play and the short story. Glaspell gives little depth to the male characters in her story but this is more depth than the characters are given in the play. This is due to the fact that Glaspell describes the characters interactions more profoundly while in the play it is left to the characters to bring out their personalities and interactions.
In the Short story when Mr. Hale is called upon by the attorney general to tell what happened when he found John Wright dead, he poses for just a bit. While the play just includes dialogue, the short story describes the Mrs. Hales worry over her husband’s response. “Mrs. Hale, still leaning against the door, had that sinking feeling of the mother whose child was about to speak a piece. Lewis often wandered along and got things mixed up in a story. She hoped he would tell this straight and plain, and not say unnecessary things that would make things harder for Minnie Wright. He didn’t begin at once, and she noticed that he looked queer-as if standing in that kitchen and having to tell what he had seen there yesterday morning made him almost sick (A Jury of Her Peers 2).” Unlike the play, the story is more descriptive of the situation making us aware that Mrs. Hale was on Minnie’s side and she did not want Minnie convicted.
The Short story is more descriptive of the women’s togetherness from the beginning. Glaspell begins the short story with regret sentiments from Mrs. Hale. She is saddened that she did not visit her friend more often. Mrs. Hale feels she should have visited Minnie to keep her company and feels the murder would have been kept from happening if Minnie had had someone to talk to. The play omits these facts and does not really portray Mrs. Hale’s regret or remorse.
Though similar in content such as conversation, the play and the short story vary to a great extent. The short story is more distinct in describing the characters interactions while the play leaves it to the characters to bring out the interactions. I would personally choose the short story over the play as it more informative. While the play solely focuses on the objects that point towards Minnie’s lack of innocence, the short story focuses on the characters of the women in Minnie’s house and to a smaller extent the men. The focus of characters makes it easy to understand what was going on and gives more depth to the narrative as opposed to the shallow depth in the play that solely depends on the audience’s interpretations.
Glaspell, Susan. Trifles.Love and Hate 1916. Print
Glaspell, Susan. A jury of Her Peers n.d.