QUESTIONS

 

1.

At the time this story was published, women were not entitled to vote or sit on juries. The title alludes to the concept in common law (encoded in Magna Carta, 1215) that an accused man has the right to be judged by his peers. Given these facts, what ironies are suggested by the title and the decision reached by Mrs. Hate and Mrs. Peters? Do they find that Mrs. Wright killed her husband? Do they judge her guilty of murder?

2.

In what various ways are Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters "peers" of Mrs. Wright?

3.

What common assumptions about women are shared by the men in the story? How do they try to show that they do not think women to be their inferiors? How are their assumptions ironic?

4.

Since no one seems to doubt that Mrs. Wright killed her husband (there are no other suspects, and she is already being held for the crime), how does this story create suspense?

5.

Compare Mrs. Wright's motives for killing to Uncle Caesar's. Compare Major Caswell to Mr. Wright. Compare the decision made at the end by the narrator of "A Municipal Report" to that of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. How do these comparisons make the purposes of these two stories clearer?