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Williams 1Kayci WilliamsProfessor ConnollyEngl 10212 October, 2020“A Jury of Her Peers” and “A Respectable Woman” ComparisonIn “19 Minutes,” author Jodie Picoult pondered “If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were?” (Picoult). In a patriarchal society, women are expected to adhere to certain societal expectations created by men. Women would often have to suppress their physical and emotional needs to comply with these prescribed expectations, which in turn would stifle who they were as a person. When women challenge these expectations, they discover desires, beliefs, morals, and perceptions they have kept hidden from the world and themselves. In “A Jury of Her Peers,” Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters went against social norms by hiding evidence that could convict Minnie. As women, it was expected that they would not hide anything from their husbands, which they did when they felt another woman was in need. Mrs. Baroda, in “A Respectable Woman,” also went against societal expectations by choosing to give into her desire. Susan Glaspell in “A Jury of Her Peers” and Kate Chopin in “A Respectable Woman” explore how subverting society's expectations lead the main characters to a clearer sense of self.Failing to adhere to societal norms makes the woman less than in a patriarchal society. Glaspell illustrates this belief in “A Jury of Her Peers” with the dialogue that is
Williams 2carried on by the men. When the county attorney tried to dry his hands only to find dirty towels, he noted that Minnie was “not much of a housekeeper” (Glaspell). He attempted to drive this point home by pointedly kicking a pile of dirty pans that were held under thesink. Minnie is being held for the murder of her husband and the men in the story are in her house to look for evidence proving her involvement, but they continuously carry on commentary about her housekeeping abilities. The attorney again mentions Minnie’s domestic capabilities when questioning Mrs. Hale on her lack of visitation with her neighbor. When Mrs. Hale says that the Wright resident was not a very “cheerful place”, Mr. Henderson agrees saying, “I shouldn’t say she had the home-making instinct” (Glaspell). These comments about Minnie’s ability to keep a home infer that this is the most important aspect of her, and her inability to do so makes her a failure in the eyes of men.