"A Jury of Her Peers" Martha Hale

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Mary Stephan Professor Yan English 102 February 5, 2014 “A Jury of Her Peers” Martha Hale In Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” Martha Hale is not the central character, but she is a complex, major character in the story. We learn much about what kind of person she is as she talks with Mrs. Peters about her neighbor and murder suspect, Minnie Foster Wright. She has fond memories of Minnie as a pretty, vibrant, carefree girl. Those memories of Minnie come into focus with the realism of what Minnie has become and what has taken place in her house. We then see Mrs. Hale begin to emerge as a guilt-ridden, sympathetic, and loyal protector of Minnie Wright. Mrs. Hale understands and has empathy for Minnie Wright. She is able to identify with Minnie’s plight. Like all women living during such a repressive time they both experienced hardships and injustices. “We all go through the same things-it’s all just a different kind of the same thing!” (194). Mrs. Hale feels connected to Minnie as an oppressed woman and believes that by helping her, she is helping all women. Mrs. Hale has a lot of guilt for not having been a better friend to Minnie and for not seeing her more often. She continually voices her deep regret for refusing to visit Minnie. “The picture of that girl, the fact that she had lived neighbor to that girl for twenty years, and had let her die for lack of life, was suddenly more than [Mrs. Hale] could bear” (194). She feels responsible and blames herself for what has happened to Minnie. She believes that the reason that she stayed away - “because it weren’t cheerful” (192) was the very reason she should have gone to see Minnie. She reacts to her refusal to visit Minnie as a crime in itself. “Oh, I wish I’d come over here once in a while!” she cried. “That’s a crime! Who’s going to punish that?” (194). Mrs. Hale wants to save Minnie out of a sense of

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