I’m going to be comparing two female characters from the stories “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl and “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell. Mary and Mrs. Wright/ Minnie share similarities as well as several differences. The themes of “Lamb to the Slaughter” and “Jury of Her Peers” are both based around Marriage and gender roles. In each of the short stories there are murders committed.
Both women had their own reasons to murder their husbands and find it was justified.
The stories are set in an ordinary home and in those time period’s women were not thought to be capable of such crimes. They were often left home alone to fulfill the domestic tasks of the house, while their husbands worked long hours “Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband to come home from work– enjoying his company after the long hours alone in the house” (“Lamb to the Slaughter” p 58.
); ‘but it makes a quiet house — and Wright out to work all day– and no company when he did come in” (“a Jury of Her Peers” p 256.
Although they share a little similarities they have so much more differences. Mary loves her marriage to her husband and Mrs. Wright is unhappy in hers. Mary still eagerly waits for her husband and is pleased to take care of him when he returns from work.” She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man, and to feel — almost as a sunbather feels the sun — that warm male glow that came out of him to her when they were alone together” (“Lamb to the Slaughter” p 58.). Mrs. Wright’s husband didn’t even allow her to have a telephone and didn’t keep her company even when he was home “’I’m goin’ to see if I can’t get John Wright to take a telephone.’ You see,’ he explained to Henderson,” unless I can get somebody to go in with me they won’t come out this branch road except for a price I can’t pay. I’d spoke to Wright about it once before; but he put me off, saying folks talked too much anyway, and all he asked was peace and quiet — guess you know about how much he talked himself.
But I thought maybe if I went to the house and talked about it before his wife, and said all the women-folks liked the telephones, and that in this lonesome stretch of road it would be a good thing well, I said to Harry that that was what I was going to say — though I said at the same time that I didn’t know as what his wife wanted made much difference to John– ‘(“a Jury of Her Peers” p 256.). So of course she would be lonely and unhappy. In “Lamb to the Slaughter”, Mary outsmarted all the men. She tactfully planned everything out, down to her alibi and how she was going to get rid of the murder weapon. Unlike Mary, Mrs. Wright did not make as much as an effort to cover her tracks. She simply said she was right next to him when the murder happened and she didn’t hear anything because she’s a sound sleeper.
In both stories there is a tone of male dominance over the females, but in Mary and Minnie’s situation they both are dominating. Mary was able to manipulate and outsmart all of the men, while Mrs. Wright may just get off because she has two women on her side who are hiding the evidence from their husbands. Basically the women versus the men. The men in both stories thought woman were so inferior to them. They couldn’t see what was right in front of their eyes.
In “Lamb to the Slaughter” they couldn’t even fathom the murderer being a woman because on several occasions they refer to the murderer as being male. Due to their sexist views justice will not be served for the murder of Mr. Maloney. They completely rule her out and indulge in drinking and eating, thus eliminating the evidence to convict her. Also in “Jury of Her Peers”, the men seem to not value what the women actually do. They lack evidence because they chose to ignore anything having to do with domestic tasks, the men see them as insignificant. They criticize the way the kitchen looks and decide to skip the entire kitchen and living room area. But the women spot everything the men couldn’t see.