Tone in A Jury of Her Peers
Somber Tone: Glaspell creates a dark and somber tone through setting and description. The story takes place on a “cold March morning” in the Wright house, a “lonesome-looking place… down in a hollow,” surrounded by the shadows of poplar trees. The stormy language and imagery of gusts and cuts of wind establish a somber tone and foreshadow the story’s tragic and violent trajectory. By placing the action in Dickson County, Iowa, Glaspell creates an ominous narrative of crime disrupting a small, quiet town.
Tonal Shifts According to Gender: Tonal shifts occur several times throughout the short story as the perspective shifts between the female and male characters. When the men enter the room, the narration shifts from the women’s eyes to the men’s. For example, after the two female characters find Minnie’s quilt, they are seen laughing and warming their hands over the stove. Very quickly, the male characters seem to intrude on the scene when the county attorney inserts himself “briskly.” The calm mannerisms of the women set against the aggressive diction of the men suggest a stark dichotomy and tension between the two genders.
Tone Examples in A Jury of Her Peers:
Text of the Story🔒
""They think it was such a—funny way to kill a man." She began to laugh; at sound of the laugh, abruptly stopped...." See in text (Text of the Story)
"When Martha Hale opened the storm-door and got a cut of the north wind, she ran back for her big woolen scarf...." See in text (Text of the Story)
"There was a laugh for the ways of women, a warming of hands over the stove, and then the county attorney said briskly:..." See in text (Text of the Story)