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Subject: Essay, English Date: Topic: Trifles by Susan Glaspell The mainstay of fiction is the place. Setting affects the final results, as much as the characters. Time intervenes decisively in the plot. In this one-act play “Trifles” setting plays the all-important role…
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Download file to see previous pages... 2 women and 3 men show their presence on “the simple kitchen stage in the play.” The two women are wives of the sheriff and the farmer and they mostly remain on the stage, whereas there men characters “county attorney, sheriff and a neighboring farmer” arrive and depart from the stage several times, as they constantly discuss and search for proof and intentions behind the murder. The women examine the “little things” in the kitchen (Judith, p.461) Men ignore issues which women consider important and the women ponder how Mrs. Wright made preparations about completing the quilt. They strike a feminine commonality as they share their own experiences in the light of the evidence now found and with the discovery of “a battered birdcage and the dead canary,” they are elated about their findings and think that they have stuck at the evidence for the motive of the murder. “Glaspell conveys the setting in three realms: time (era), regional (geographical), and domain (kitchen). Collectively the three setting elements portray the values, ideals, and attitudes of the characters giving deeper meaning to the play’s outcome. (Judith, p.461) “The ideals, values and disposition of the characters are linked to setting, physical and time details and the author passes an indictment against the society that demeans women and eulogises men for their so-called superior talents. “Values, ideals and attitudes of people” in “Trifles” need more analysis. Trifles saw the light of the day in 1916. In that period, the social conditions of women were poor and political rights for them were non-existent in United States. Women had no voting rights, and they were not appointed as juries. The responsibility of women was restricted within the four walls of the house and it was a male-dominated society. Glaspell has made the intelligent use of gender and values in this play. The women are aware that their opinion is of no consequence in finding the motive of the murder. So this gender war reaches the setting of this play, women do investigations, and the kitchen in secular terms, is the female-dominated area. Men do investigation in other areas and from other angles, and they do not give any importance to the kitchen. Men consider themselves to be intellectually superior, and the women have accompanied them as mere enclosures. The opinions of women are not counted and they have no say, let alone the final say. These women prove how wrong the gender bias is. They find the evidence to show how their sixth sense works, and why they are equal to men if not more equal, by finding the evidence for the murder. Thus the gender values of the time are challenged by Glaspell. The gender bias and the husband-wife relationship, relevant to the time, have been subtly described by Glaspell through the characterisation of Mr. and Mrs. Wright. He is busy in the farm and she is busy in the unending domestic chores. She waits for her husband to return from the farm, and even when he comes his arrival did not bring cheer to her as Glaspell puts it, “no company when he did come in” (Judith,p.463). Her life is lonely and frozen. Setting kitchen as the stage has profound meaning; it is as well refers to the conditions prevailing in the society of the 19th century. The man-woman divide is complete; each section dominates the external and the internal worlds in complying with the attitudinal difference between the genders. So, the author places the two ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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