A Jury of Her Peers

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Lewis Hale Character Analysis

A middle-aged local farmer who visited the Wrights’ home and discovered Minnie calmly pleating her apron as her husband lay murdered in his bed. He accompanies Henderson and Peters, although not a legal authority, because of his firsthand account of the case. Mrs. Hale worries that her husband will reveal his tendency to “say unnecessary things” and make things more difficult for Minnie when telling the story of his discovery.

Lewis Hale Quotes in A Jury of Her Peers

The A Jury of Her Peers quotes below are all either spoken by Lewis Hale or refer to Lewis Hale. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Subjugation of Women Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the University of Iowa Press edition of A Jury of Her Peers published in 2010.
A Jury of Her Peers Quotes

“Oh, well, women are used to worrying over trifles.”

Related Characters: Lewis Hale (speaker), Mrs. Peters, Martha Hale, Minnie Wright
Related Symbols: Trifles, Canning Jars of Fruit
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

The local attorney, the sheriff, and a primary witness search a farmhouse for evidence in a murder trial. The sheriff, Mr. Peters, and the witness, Mr. Hale, both bring along their wives who know Mrs. Wright, the murdered man’s husband and the primary suspect in the case. The group looks quickly around the kitchen and discovers a mess from exploded jars of fruit Mrs. Wright had been working on canning. Mrs. Hale explains that Mrs. Wright was worried about just this very thing, and her husband jokes that women are “used to worrying over trifles” like this canning project. Mr. Hale’s dismissal of the concerns of women as “trifles” shows the subjugation of women in this society (and this phrase also gives the title to one of Glaspell's other famous works, Trifles).

Women are expected to be wives, mothers, and caretakers: their work focuses on the domestic sphere. Men, on the other hand, work outside the home and fill all intellectual roles. Because these gender roles assign women to tasks and responsibilities that men view as less important, men are quick to dismiss and overlook what they consider to be women’s concerns. In this story, the men ignore the domestic things in the house, despite the fact that Minnie Wright is their primary suspect. They cannot imagine that women’s things could yield evidence about their murder investigation. This story shows the men’s ignorance because so-called women’s concerns and "trifles" are actually key in solving the murder mystery, which is decoded by the two female characters.


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“I’d hate to have men comin’ into my kitchen…snoopin’ round and criticizin’.” “Of course it’s no more than their duty.”

Related Characters: Lewis Hale (speaker), Mrs. Peters (speaker), George Henderson, Henry Peters
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

The kitchen in the Wrights' house is messy, and George Henderson comments on this, mocking Mrs. Wright’s poor housekeeping abilities. As soon as the men leave the room, Mrs. Hale makes her frustration at Henderson’s comments clear. She explains how unhappy she’d be to be treated in this way because she knows much labor goes into caring for a household. Men, who have not done this type of work, should not belittle the effort involved in running a farming household single-handedly. Mrs. Hale is willing to be critical of Henderson, but Mrs. Peters is not (at this point). She is quick to excuse her husband's behavior, whether or not she thinks it is unfair to Minnie Wright.

The women in this society face a strict set of expectations for their behavior. They resent this to varying degrees, but cannot fully escape from it. This passage shows how the women's thinking has been shaped by the way society has always treated them. Mrs. Hale sees the kitchen as the domain of a woman. She sees her kitchen as hers, and not the joint space of herself and her husband. Also, Mrs. Peters sees an investigation for evidence as the duty of the men. Their process is beyond her reproach. Early in the story, the women are not inclined to stand up against the men, their own gender roles, and the expectations of society. Over the course of the story, however, they reach mental and emotional states that allow them to rebel and defy their husbands.

“They think it was such a—funny way to kill a man.”
“That’s just what Mr. Hale said….There was a gun in the house. He says that’s what he can’t understand.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Peters (speaker), Martha Hale (speaker), Lewis Hale, Minnie Wright
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

John Wright’s murder was unusual because he was strangled with a rope, as Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters quietly discuss out of earshot of the men. Mr. Wright might, more logically, have been shot with the nearby gun in the house, and the method of murder raises many questions. This discussion between the women highlights the unusual nature of this murder. It is followed quickly in the women’s conversation with the discussion of motive. This foreshadows that the mysterious nature of the crime will be important in understanding the motive behind it.

This passage presents a society in which women are accustomed to being considered less important than men. At first glance, this passage is a less explicit discussion of sexism, but its casual references to inequality are perhaps more disturbing. Notably, the women discuss and repeat important information from their husbands as unquestionable. Mrs. Hale directly quotes her husband, which shows her trust in his words and opinions. Men are the ones with access to information and with that information comes the opportunity to decide crimes and punishments. Women are only told second-hand about the important work of investigating the murder. Information is power in this story, and the established inequality in society is challenged when the two wives acquire the very information the men seek. In choosing to conceal this information, the women challenge the structure of a society that they subconsciously accept in this early scene of the story.

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Lewis Hale Character Timeline in A Jury of Her Peers

The timeline below shows where the character Lewis Hale appears in A Jury of Her Peers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Jury of Her Peers
The Subjugation of Women Theme Icon
...group of her neighbors who wait outside. The group stopped to pick up her husband, Lewis Hale , but the sheriff, Henry Peters, asked that Martha Hale come along as well to... (full context)
The Subjugation of Women Theme Icon
Male Obliviousness to Women’s Importance Theme Icon
Crime and Punishment Theme Icon
The group stands in the Wrights’ kitchen and Mr. Peters asks Lewis Hale to describe what he witnessed at the farmhouse the day before. Mrs. Hale looks on... (full context)
The Subjugation of Women Theme Icon
Legal Obligations vs. Gender Loyalty Theme Icon
Mr. Hale recounts how he had stopped by to visit the Wrights’ home the day before. Previously,... (full context)
The Subjugation of Women Theme Icon
Crime and Punishment Theme Icon
Mr. Hale discovered John Wright’s body in his bed upstairs with the rope still in place. Hale... (full context)
The Subjugation of Women Theme Icon
Crime and Punishment Theme Icon
...that Minnie could worry about her domestic projects in the face of her serious situation. Mr. Hale responds that “women are used to worrying over trifles.” (full context)
The Subjugation of Women Theme Icon
Male Obliviousness to Women’s Importance Theme Icon
...jail. George Henderson asks the women to keep their eyes open for any clues, but Mr. Hale wonders if the women would know a clue if they found one. The men go... (full context)