Analysis: Trifles by Susan Glaspell Trifle is a one-act play written by Susan Glaspell in 1916. It seems to portray the author’s notion of the cultural norms prevailing in the society with regard to gender and sex roles…
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Hence, Glaspell presents a parallel narrative technique whereby both man and woman reveal their perspectives of how they regard and disregard objects in a specific context. This play is about a farmer named John Wright who is murdered by his wife Minnie Wright. The plot unfolds to reveal that a small group of women including Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters tactfully refrain from disclosing the knowledge of the crime scene to the men who have not been able to find any clue as to why or whether Mrs. Wright was involved in her husband’s murder. It is a pity to learn how women were treated in the times depicted by Glaspell in her play Trifle. What is satisfying, though, is the ironical poetic justice one observes towards the end of the play. Although Mrs. Wright may have been easily accused and imprisoned for the crime she committed, the social pressures that women in general and Minnie in particular went through made way for her freedom which appeared justifiable in her situation. The attitude of men towards the women as shown by Glaspell was enough for them to behave in an abnormal fashion. From the time the play begins till the end, men are observed remarking at the women in an insulting manner which reflects their egotistic and superior guise. While they are busy in fulfilling their obligations as law professionals, the women typically seem concerned about the domestic issues surrounding Minnie Wright’s life. “Nothing here but kitchen things” says Sheriff as he looks around the house for evidence indicating his notion of how women are destined to have nothing on their mind except for kitchen and Hale adds on to this acuity by stating: “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles.”. As if immediately contrasting their perspicacity, Mrs. Hale utters “I’d hate to have men coming into my kitchen, snooping around and criticizing.” (Glaspell 1916) There is no stopping when it comes to gender inequality portrayed in the play. It is as if the war is never ending but the men end up regretting eventually because they are either cleverly kept aloof from the lives led by their women or end up dying like Mr. Wright. Living a lonely life without children was not easy for Minnie. She probably acted out in frustration and this is an excuse that only the women could understand. The men would easily throw it away as a lame feminine affair. When Sheriff says, “Well, can you beat the women! Held for murder and worryin’ about her preserves”, he is merely implying how difficult it is to make them see the emotional perspective of a woman in need of sympathy and respectable company (Glaspell 1916). The situation that the women have to confront is not easy either. Both Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are mutually engaged in a monologue recalling their tragedies while empathizing with Mrs. Wright. On the other hand, the men see a dirty and ill-kept house as they notice the dirty towels and broken jars. They disregard the hard work that women do around the house and pass inferior remarks at them. The women simultaneously feel bad for Mrs. Wright for not visiting her more frequently. They seem to have a more holistic picture of the situation and realize that it was mainly the isolation which led to such a disaster in Mrs. Wight’s life. It is the guilt which leads them to hide the evidence that they found from their husbands, the county attorney and the sheriff. Mrs. Peters speaks in a state of compassion towards Mrs. Wright as if she could feel what she
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In The Stronger and Trifles, both husbands are characterized as “good.” Although one man was unfaithful and uncaring while the other was hard and cheerless, they are both married men who do not manifest loving care toward their wives, nor do they invest the time necessary to foster a stronger bond.
A Critical Analysis of the Portrayal of Women in Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” In her play, “Trifles,” Susan Glaspell manipulates ironies and mystery genre to portray women capable of perceiving right and wrong, planning accordingly and finally of executing their plans by destabilizing the patriarchy-induced stereotypical notion of women’s frivolity and frailty.
The story revolves around the murder of Mr. Wright. Although Mrs. Wright was the prime suspect, being the only person in the house at the time of the murder, the male characters did not find any motive, which is very important in building a case. Although the men found evidences pointing towards Mrs.
Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles, is a book written in 1916 that reflects Susan’s preoccupation and perceptions towards culture-bound notion of gender and sex roles. This is a patriarch society that views women as lesser beings with totally no role to play.
This paper aims to look deeper into the symbolisms that Glaspell used in her play such as the location of Wright’s farmhouse, the rope, telephone, canary, birdcage and the word trifles. This will be examined closer in order for readers to have a clearer and deeper understanding of the story.
The author has used various literary elements like strong plot, setting, character, gender conflict, symbolism etc. to focus the plight of women and to question the validity of a judicial system where the evidence of crime as confirmed by men is enough to charge the prime suspect of the crime.
The men, County Attorney with the Sherrif, Mr. Peters and Wright’s neighbor Mr. Hale have come to the house to investigate the murder. Mr. John Wright was found murdered in his room, with a rope around
John got strangled in his sleep and Minnie is held as a suspect in jail (Glaspell 3). The play’s title provides a clue to its main theme. The play provides a look at the perceived role and place of the woman in society at the time.
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