" A story narrating the life of the abused Minnie Foster, wife to John Wright, and her killing of her husband as a means to express her oppression and experiences of abuse from him. Like the narrator's downfall to insanity in "Yellow wallpaper," Minnie's character in "A jury" reflects the lack of avenue for women to express their feelings and thoughts, resorting instead to actions that are considered deviant in society, such as succumbing to insanity or committing murder.
Communication is considered vital in the story, for it is through understanding Minnie's psyche that the protagonists were able to uncover the truth about John Wright's murder. Evidently, Glaspell attempts to illustrate and celebrate the differences between men and women's way of communicating: female communication through intuition and implied meanings behind 'feminine talk' demonstrates superiority over the unimaginative forms of communication expressed by the male characters in "A jury." Implied meanings played an essential role in communicating to the readers the truth behind John's murder and Minnie's role as the murderer. For Minnie's friends, who are also women, her murder is justified, with Mrs. Peters remarking that "...it's a good thing the men couldn't hear us! Getting all stirred up over a little thing like a -- dead canary...As if that could have anything to do with it..." (308). The male characters' lack of understanding of the two women's way of communication has prevented them to solving the murder case and finding out the truth behind the (obviously) abusive nature of Minnie and John's marital relationship.
Lastly, in Atwood's "You fit into me," communication is expressed in the simplest, yet most effective manner that only women, like the author, can truly understand. Like the elusive nature of Minnie's commitment of murder in "A jury," violence in "You fit into me" is also subtly expressed, using the words "eye" and "hook" interchangeably to suggest the softness or perceived weakness of feminine character and violence committed against them, respectively. The poem, in effect, addresses the oppression of women through different forms of abuse, symbolically represented by the "fish hook" that always seem to 'bait' on women and in effect, subject them under the control of the patriarchal society.
All of these issues about gender differences and communication as it relates to the propaganda of feminism is addressed in Gajjala's (1999) discussion of the concept of cyberfeminism in the 21st century. Pertaining to this concept, the author identifies cyberfeminism as "a belief that women should take control of and appropriate the use of cybertechnologies in an attempt to empower ourselves (women)." The emergence of this phenomenon is vital to understanding women's role in society in the age of information technology. What Gajjala extends to her audience in the article is the idea that in the same way that technologies encompass boundaries in communication all over the world, women should, through cyberfeminism, take advantage of this opportunity and dare to express themselves freely with the help of limitless capabilities of communication technologies.
The phenomenon of cyberfeminism is an attempt to empower women in the context of contemporary society. It is also a celebration of women's communication, a seemingly elusive characteristic among females that evidently, males have failed to understand and 'decipher' throughout the years, as illustrated in the works of Gilman, Glaspell, and Atwood. Gajjala, in effect, while celebrating women's differences against men, also attempts to reconcile the sexes' differences by encouraging that communication technologies makes it possible to create understanding among sectors in the society. That is, communication through the cyberspace is an opportunity for women to communicate without the barriers of sex and gender that has been inculcated in the minds of human society for a long time in history. And like Gilman, Glaspell, and Atwood's literary works, Gajjala offers cybercommunication as an effective means to achieving great understanding of the differences among people in the society, especially those between males and females.
Atwood, M. (2003). "You fit into me." In Poems. J. Kelly (Ed.). NY W.W. Norton.
Gajjala, R. (1999). "Third world perspectives' on cyberfeminism." Development in Practice, Vol. 9, Issue 5.
Gilman, C.P. (2002). "The yellow wallpaper." In Worlds of fiction, R. Rubenstein and C. Larson (Eds.). NJ: Prentice Hall.
Glaspell, S. (2002). "A jury of her peers." In Worlds of fiction, R. Rubenstein and C. Larson (Eds.). NJ: Prentice Hall.
Macionis, J. (1998). Sociology: the basics. NJ: Prentice Hall.