Trifles by Susan Glaspell is a short story about the undervaluation of women in the society. Though a simple story about a case of a wife, Mrs. Wright, murdering her husband, it clearly shows the differences between men and women’s perspective on things…
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Wright as the main suspect, they cannot establish the motive why she wanted her husband dead. When the men left the women downstairs, as the women wandered about the cheerless house, they discovered what the men didn’t discover proving that the perspective of men and women about certain things are very different. The women realized how Mrs. Wright must have felt about her marriage and about her role in the house. The different things in the house actually symbolize how Mrs. Wright felt with her marriage. The jars of preserves crack under extreme cold temperature. This symbolizes the coldness of the Wright marriage. As the marriage grew cold, both cracked under pressure and eventually breaking the sanity of Mrs. Wright leading her to kill her husband. The last jar remaining intact that Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters want to give to Mrs. Wright, who was in prison, symbolizes the last hope remaining for Mrs. Wright retention of her sanity. The story also presents the status of women within the society. Women are caged within the bounds of marriage, being slaves to their husbands. The bird in the cage symbolizes Mrs. Wright and her caged feeling within the marriage. The cage stands for the caged freedom of women when it comes to marriage. Mrs. Wright is described as a happy and cheerful woman before she got married. After her marriage, she began losing her cheerful self. The bird became her only link to her past self, but when her husband killed the bird, it seemed like he killed herself too. The dead bird was the missing motive. When the female characters hid the dead bird and its box, it was an act of rebellion against the patriarchal society. They understood why Mrs. Wright killed and they wanted to protect their kind from being discriminated even more. Even if they knew that she should be punished for the crime she did, they questioned who would have punished Mr. Wright for what he did to his wife. The method of killing Mr. Wright further emphasizes the desire of women to be as equal as men. Strangling is a method of killing which requires strength. It was an unusual method of killing used by a woman as women are known not to have as much strength as men. But in this story, Glaspell allowed Mrs. Wright to kill her husband by knotting a rope around his neck. This establishes the need for women to become strong as men, if not physically, strength of the mind and the heart. When Glaspell wrote Trifles in 1916, the society was dominated by males. Women are struggling to find an equal stand in the society. Women are denied the right to vote and their roles in the workplace are severely limited. Women’s roles are concentrated on child-bearing, child-rearing and household management. Glaspell’s Trifles emphasizes the desire of women to rise up to the devaluation and discrimination they are experiencing within the society. It bears a radical perspective, that women can have the same strength as men, that women can do the same things as men, and that women can band together to fight the inequality and discrimination they are experiencing. For men, women’s things and activities, such as housework and quilt-making, are mere trifles, things of no great value. And this is where the investigation reaches a dead end. Since they don’t see things as women do, they fail to see that the trifles are major evidences enough to establish the guilt and motive of Mrs. Wright. Men’s undervaluation of women actually created a void, a hole in the men’
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Wright and the situation she is in. Glaspell is able to use this specific technique to ensure that there is an understanding of the position of Mrs. Wright while reflecting her character. The use of trifles as symbols is able to create the specific connection to Mrs.
The title of the play echoes the perception of women generally feeling possessive and concerned about “trifle” matters that have no significance in the surrounding world. It is mainly the men who eye the women in this manner and consider them consciously or unconsciously less important.
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.
I hope they don't hold that against me. Really this is not the time to judge my housekeeping skills, but men will be men. They will think there is something wrong with a woman who cannot keep her house clean. I hope my fruit didn't freeze. I spent some long, hot days putting that up, I would hate to waste all that work.
Thus, the feminist themes which run throughout the piece revolve around invoking a paradigm shift in how societies as a whole value, or devalue, the relevance and significance of male and female perspectives. Glaspell does this by creating a
nie Wright) enact how the female world is bonded through common experiences of loss, anxiety, friendship, happiness, and unhappiness; and how they are able to analyze the psyches of each other.
Psychoanalysis is used intensively in criminal investigation and sometimes it proves
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.
In Susan Glaspells Trifles an assembly of characters gathers at the home of the Wrights with a serious issue to tackle. Mr. Wright has been murdered and the preliminary suspect is Mrs. Wright. The traditional investigators of the
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