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The Knot in Susan Glaspell's Trifles - Essay Example

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A psychoanalytic reading: The knot in Glaspell’s Trifles Name Instructor Class 6 September 2012 PART 1 The roles of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are to serve as the foil of one another initially, though later on, Mrs. Peters reveals that she is similar to Mrs…
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The Knot in Susan Glaspells Trifles
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Download file to see previous pages Wright for not keeping her house in order, Mrs. Hale defends her through reminding the men of their multiple burdens as women: “There’s a great deal of work to be done on a farm” (Glaspell, 1916). For her, men fail to appreciate the work they do to support their families. Mrs. Hale expresses the poor attention given to women’s contribution in society: “Men’s hands aren’t always as clean as they might be” (Glaspell, 1916). This statement has double meaning because it indicates that men should not charge women as irresponsible, when they make their lives so physically and emotionally taxing. Contradictory to the opinionated Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Peters serves as her foil; she represents the traditional submissive woman. At first, Mrs. Peters defends her husband and the men doing the investigation. For her, they are only doing their “duty” (Glaspell, 1916). She also resists talking about the culpability of Mrs. Wright. She is adamant that “the law is the law” (Glaspell, 1916). When Mrs. Peters realizes, however, that Mrs. Wright lost her identity during their marriage, she remembers that she knows “what stillness is” (Glaspell, 1916). She understands that it is not right for any woman to stay still for a man all her life. Thus, in the end, Mrs. Peters asserts that she does not see herself as being married to the law, just because she is the sheriff’s wife. ...
PART 2 A psychoanalytic reading: The knot in Glaspell’s Trifles Several female writers such as Kate Chopin and Susan Glaspell contested the idea of a woman’s place under her husband. They questioned gender norms and practices that served male interests, while eradicating the rights of women to speech and self-determination. In the short play Trifles, Glaspell (1916) used the setting of the kitchen to demonstrate the differences between women’s and men’s investigatory skills and processes. Her female and male characters, especially in how they speak with their fellow gender and the opposite sex, reveal the uneven gender relations of the early twentieth century. A psychoanalytic reading that focuses on Mrs. Wright helps uncover her innermost emotions as a woman. The symbolism of the knot and the gender conflict in the play revealed that Mrs. Wright killed her husband because of her repressed feelings of anxiety against her domineering husband and the patriarchal culture of her times. The knot stands for how marriage knots or ties women to their husbands. Marriage is represented as a knot around women’s necks because they are imprisoned in the confines of their homes. Trifles describes the burdens of domestic drudgery, and yet society does not appreciate women’s contributions to it. The County Attorney judges Mrs. Wright’s character as an unfit homemaker, for instance, because her towels are “dirty” (Glaspell, 1916). His attitude signifies his belief that the only right place for women is in the house, and that the house is their only source of identity. Furthermore, the knot represents the idea that men can tighten it around women as they please. The men criticize Mrs. Wright for not keeping the kitchen immaculately clean. For these men, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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