Dr. Theresa Daniels
ENGL 2025 Sec 001
July 5th, 2019
Characterization of Abuse Victims in “A Jury of Her Peers” & “A Rose for Emily”
Living a restrictive lifestyle because of an abusive figure can leave a negative impact on a person. No matter the age, someone can grow to be extremely troubled and feel as if he/she has no power over his/her life. Falling prey to an abuser is a terrible reality for many women. Because of a woman’s subordinate role in society, this leaves her susceptible to dangerous men. In “A Jury of Her Peers” and “A Rose for Emily”, the reader encounters the dominant and intimidating male figures in these women’s lives. After analyzing the reasons why the murders in the stories happen, it can be argued that the characterization of both Minnie Wright and Emily Grierson is primarily defined by these men. Minnie’s husband and Emily’s father used their power to ensure the women would stay in their place. Their actions make them responsible for the events in the women’s lives.
The common trait of an abuser is to isolate his/her victims. This makes it easier to assert control over their lives. Abusers will physically separate them from other people, such as friends and family, to avoid causing concern. As a result, this makes the victim become completely dependent upon them, to the point where they don’t make contact with anyone. In all the years that Minnie was married to John, she had barely seen the people who knew her, like Mrs. Hale. In the story, Martha Hale comments on how she had never visited their home, “I wish I had come over sometimes when she was here.” (Glaspell) Minnie’s isolation most likely caused her to have a very lonely life. She was vulnerable to her husband’s cruelty, a constant prey to his personality. Martha points this out when she and Mrs. Peters talk about how lonesome the house seems, saying, “But he was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to pass the time of day with him—.” (Glaspell) In the view of their society, John Wright was considered to be a respectable man, he “didn't drink, and kept his word as well as most, I guess, and paid his debts." (Glaspell) This is another tactic of an abuser. To everyone else, they appear nice, maybe even charming. This facade almost always takes attention away from the truth. When others assume that a relationship doesn’t have a problem, they don’t think to have any concern. It is possible that this contributed to his ability to keep her isolated for such a long time.
In “A Rose for Emily”, the reader isn’t provided with an in-depth description of Emily’s father, but from the images of him and his actions, it is obvious that he was an extremely controlling man. He wanted her to always obey his will, and this caused her to be cut off from the other townspeople. His will was so ingrained that she stayed isolated long after his death. Through the view of the other citizens, it is mentioned that Miss Emily wouldn’t be seen for long periods of time. For examp...