Sunday’s Sermon: “A Jury of Her Peers”

juryBelow find links to a classic short story by Susan Glaspell that will ask you to consider some important questions about law and literature, relationships, obligations, women and the law, responsibility.

Read “A Jury of Her Peers” here.

Listen to the story here.

Read about the story.

And more here.

Read articles here.

Please join the discussion.


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4 thoughts on “Sunday’s Sermon: “A Jury of Her Peers”

  1. Tara, could you please cite these studies that say domestic violence is getting worse? Also, for which demographics are they getting worse? Thanks.


  2. An interesting lesson in gender and also a history lesson about Glaspell. The additional links provide this:
    In addition to managing the company, Glaspell was a dramatist in her own right—and the Players would perform eleven of her plays before the original group folded in 1922. She would go on to win the 1931 Pulitzer Prize for drama (for Alison’s House), but perhaps her best-known play today is Trifles, which was first staged in Provincetown on August 8, 1916—with Glaspell and her husband playing the lead characters. The following year she turned the play into a story, “A Jury of Her Peers,” which has been her most widely read work since its “rediscovery” in the 1970s.”

    I didn’t realize the origin of the story.


  3. More:
    Elaine Showalter, who borrowed the title A Jury of Her Peers for her recent literary history of American women’s literature, writes that Glaspell “turned the drama of marital loneliness . . . into a parable of crime and justice.” Both the play and the story are based on the trial of Margaret Hossack for the murder of her husband. Glaspell herself covered the trial in 1900–01 during her previous career as a reporter for the Des Moines Daily News. Patricia Bryan, coauthor of a recent book on the murder, reviewed the original transcripts and materials (including Glaspell’s original series of newspaper articles) and wrote in a 1997 Stanford Law Review essay: “The competing narratives told in the courtroom where Mrs. Hossack was tried for her life seemed limited and incomplete; neither the prosecution nor the defense offered a satisfying description of the Hossack family or a complete explanation of the crime.” Bryan also points out a cruel irony, “The abuse that Margaret Hossack had suffered [from her husband] was of great significance . . . because it provided a motive for the crime.” In fact, the stronger the evidence for domestic abuse (and, likewise, the more inhumane the abuse committed by her husband), the stronger the case against her.


  4. Even more from Britannica:
    Glaspell graduated in 1899 from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. In college she had published a few short stories in the Youth’s Companion and had worked as college correspondent for a local newspaper, and on graduating she became a reporter for the Des Moines Daily News. In 1901 she returned to her native Davenport to devote herself to writing; her stories, mainly local-colour pieces set in Freeport (Davenport), were soon appearing regularly in such magazines as the Ladies’ Home Journal, the American, and Harper’s.


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