While society and individual men oppress women throughout this short story, another theme in the text is the unexpected power the women have within the domestic sphere. This power is unexpected because the male characters repeatedly overlook the potential of the “trifles” that concern women. Ironically, the two women discover the evidence the men seek among the domestic items that the men dismiss. The men are unable to see the importance of the domestic sphere because they are unable to see the importance and intelligence of the women in their lives. By placing the solution to the murder mystery within the domestic sphere, Glaspell empowers the women with the very information the men unsuccessfully seek.
The male characters are oblivious to the domestic sphere because they take for granted their own self-importance. A society with distinct gender roles that oppresses women has also taught men to value and trust their own opinions and minds without question. The men cannot recognize their need to consider the potential, or the threat, of the women near them, as when the county attorney assumes that anything Mrs. Peters would take to Minnie Wright must necessarily be harmless, simply because she’s a woman.
Male Obliviousness to Women’s Importance ThemeTracker
Male Obliviousness to Women’s Importance Quotes in A Jury of Her Peers
“Oh, well, women are used to worrying over trifles.”
“No, Mrs. Peters doesn’t need supervising. For that matter, a sheriff’s wife is married to the law.”
“…at least we found out that she was not going to quilt it. She was going to—what is it you call it, ladies?”
“We call it—knot it, Mr. Henderson.”