Lack of Women Rights in Susan Glaspell´s Trifles

In the 20t century women lived a very different life than they do today. They were looked at as just housewives who should do all the chores around the house, while men work then come home and get pampered. As a result of women slaving around the house, many of them turned into very sad and lonley people. In the play Trifles American playwriter Susan Glaspell stresses the fact how women are living in a patriarical society and as a ruselt they become very isolated and end up living very sad lifes.

Mrs. Wright lives a very lonley life. She lives with her husband Mr. Wright in their farmhouse. She does all the work around the house which is assumed by all men in this time period. Mrs. Wright also spends her days quilting and knotting. Thats all she really could do and as Mr Hale states Well, women are use to worring over trifles.(10) The trifles are the bird cage, the quilt and the dead canary in the pretty little box. Woman in general during that time period didnt have much to look forward to during their long days attending to their household and such. Unfortunatley Mrs. Wright is in an abusive relationship and she is mentally suffering from it. She is isolated from her friends and family. Mr. Wright is always ridculing her and she just takes it and minds her own business.

Most women were treated this was and lived very similar lives as Mrs. Hale says I might have known she needed help! I know how things can be”for women. I tell you, it’s queer, Mrs. Peters. We live close together and we live far apart. We all go through the same things”it’s all just a different kind of the same thing.(138)

Before Mrs. Wright had gotten marriard she lived a very happy life. She was viewed as a nice and inosent person. After she got married her life started to go into a downwards spiral and there was nothing she could do about it. At the time there was no such thing as womans rights or respecting them in general and unfortunatley a lot of woman were not living the lifes they thought they would live. They lived in a male dominated society. Mr. Wright was reviewd as a fine man who did a good job with his responsibilities. He did not really care about his wife. He abandoned her happiness and did not care much about her opinions. Mrs. Wright really enjoyed singing but Mr. Wright did not apporive of such thing. He took awy many aspects of her freedom.

Mrs. Wright was getting sick of being ridiculed everyday of her life. One day Mr. Wright killed her canary. That bird was her only company during her long, lonley and isolated days. The canary’s singing would put Mrs. Wright at ease and take her away from her isolation for short periods of time. The canary and Mrs. Wright were alike in many different ways. Mrs. Wright and the bird both enjoyed singing but Mr. Wright destroyed that for the both of them. As it states in the play No, Wright wouldn’t like the bird”a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that, too. (124) They were alike in the case of both being caged up all day in the house while Mr. Wright was home.

As of today women are not seen in the same way as women were in the 20th century. It is not as much as a male dominated societey as of today, women have a place in the publics sphereWomen now can play the role as the money maker in households and it is not looked at in an uncanny way at all. While some men in this day in age play the role as the housewife. Women are respected and have a say in everything. They have just as much as a place in this world as men do.z

What does Trifles say about the role of women in society?

The two best words to describe women in the 19th century were housewives and mothers. Some may ask why so? In the 1900s, men were the head of all marriage which transform the role of women during this era. As a woman in the 1900s, they mostly stay at home to cook, clean, take care of the children, and must obey their husband’s orders at all cost.

Susan Glaspell’s play Trifles takes place at a farmhouse that involves a murder case. However, the play has a deeper meaning, the audience will realize that this play isn’t just about an ordinary murder case, but more about the gender differences towards women during this time. The main theme that was shown in this play was gender roles, Glaspell’s message in this play is that women were treated unequally and lower than men which causes them to rise up and prove that stereotype wrong.

As for women in the 1900s, they were treated unequally and less fortunate than men due to their gender and physical features. Men during this time kept their heads high in order to show how superior they are to the family. As the play begins, the audience can view the tension and pressure in Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters with the usage of body language and facial expressions. They both cross their arms and kept their head low, not wanting to look up. The body language of arms crossing has a significant meaning, most of the time that position is meant for a defensive stand for people who are afraid of something. At the beginning of the play, Mrs. Hale along with Mrs. Peters both had their arms crossed which indicates that they are both afraid and nervous by being around Mr. Hale, the sheriff, and the attorney.

As the play goes, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters begin to search the kitchen since the men thought the kitchen was nothing but fill with kitchen appliances which had no benefit to the crime scene. Once the men headed upstairs to further investigate, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, begin their search and they discover an empty birdcage along with a red box inside was a dead canary whose neck was broken that was wrapped around with silk. After finding the evidence, Mrs. Hale hid the dead canary in her dress to hide the evidence from the men. This shows how Mrs. Hale understands and realize how important the canary was to Winnie, and because of its death, it brought loneliness and isolation to Winnie forcing her to seek for revenge.

The course of actions that were made by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters shows that women were underestimated and were not appreciated during this time. The men felt that they were much smarter than the women and decided to not search the kitchen since they thought the kitchen would not have the evidence since it was a woman’s place. However, as smart as they may seem, the women worked together and traced back all of the important evidence that could imprison Winnie, but instead of revealing the truth, they hid the evidence to protect Winnie. This important scene shows that women can be much better than what they were expected to be. Their isolation from society can force them to break their barrier and caused them to do things they were not expected.

As a result, this play is more than just a murder case, Glaspell creates a storyline to show how women were unappreciated and were well forgotten in society. Since this story was in the 1900s, women were considered as housewives and mothers which shows how gender was a very important factor during this time. However, at the end of the day, whether being a male or female, both genders are important in society. Susan Glaspell wrote the Trifles to bring awareness to the gender inequality that most women in the 1900s were facing to show how important their role can be in the society.

Trifles: Developed Cast – Viola Davis as Mrs. Hale the Protagonist

Viola Davis can in a way act as Mrs. Hale the protagonist, as she is an individual who will not in any way put up with the mistreatment that some of the women are facing. In the play, the women such as Mrs. Hale have to put up with a lot of sexism and there is no doubt that Viola Davis will not in any way put up with the continuous harassment.

Contents

  • 1 Jennifer Lopez as Mrs. Peters
  • 2 Gabriel Match as George Henderson the County Attorney
  • 3 Harry Lennix as the Sheriff
  • 4 Setting
  • 5 Central Moments
  • 6 References

Jennifer Lopez as Mrs. Peters

Mrs. Peters is the wife to the Sheriff, which implies that she is expected to honor and have total respect towards the law of the land. However, she helps Mrs. Hale to cover the crime. In my view Jennifer Lopez can perfectly play the role of Mrs. Peters, as she appears to be the kind of individual who can help in covering up wrong doings.

Gabriel Match as George Henderson the County Attorney

In the play, Mr. Henderson is the County Attorney who is working towards unraveling the truth behind what has happened. He comes out as someone who is willing to all out to ensure that he establishes what truly went down and one individual who can effectively carry out that task is Gabriel Match. This based on the fact that Mr. Match always comes out as an individual who is willing to do all he can possibly can to ensure that he gets the bad guys behind bars.

Harry Lennix as the Sheriff

Sheriff Peters comes out in the paly as someone who is confused and does not know the best way to proceed with the case. As such, I hold the view that Harry Lennix can effectively carry out that task, as just as in the blacklist, he comes out as an individual who does not know the right way to manage the challenges and the threats being brought forth by Raymond Reddington.

Setting

In developing my play, I would step away from the 1916 setting and instead integrate a more modern outlook. This is largely because a more modern outlook will make it easy for the audience to identify the main arguments of the play. This implies that instead of the outdated furniture, more modern materials will be brought into the scene with additional luxuries being introduced as well (Glaspell, 2010). In the modern world, a lot of individuals are finding comfort in attending to their animals given that dealing with other human beings is quite problematic and the relationship that Mrs. Hale has with her cat can equally be identified with.

In addition, I hold the view that one of the main reasons why cracking the case appears difficult for the police officers involved is the fact that the old setting made it easy for Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters to easily get away with the murder that they committed. As such, a more modern setting will make it easy for the Sherriff and the County Attorney to re-construct the scene and bring the culprits to book (Stanislavsky, 2013). At the moment, a lot of technological advancements can help law enforcement officers in handling tight cases and I am convinced that in a modern setting it will be difficult for the crime that has been committed to be hidden from the law enforcement agencies.

Central Moments

The defining moment for Mrs. Hale is the fact that she actively takes part in the murder of her husband then pretends that she did not do it. She goes ahead and hides the evidence from the authorities, which infers that it will be difficult to unravel the truth behind the crime. As such, it is important for Viola Davis to approach the role with honesty; as such a strategy will ensure that the audience understands the pain that she is feeling.

The defining moment for Mrs. Peters is the fact that instead of reporting the crime, she went ahead to help her friend hide the evidence that would have linked her to the murder. This is quite unrealistic given that she is the wife to a law enforcement officer, which implies that she should be the one helping with unraveling the truth (Glaspell, 2010). In taking up the role it is important for Jennifer Lopez to exhibit a lot of loyalty, as by her own standards loyalty to her friend supersedes everything.

For the County Attorney, the defining moment is the fact that he is unable to figure out the truth behind the death of Mr. Hale. He knows that the perpetrator is within but is having a hard time piecing the pieces together. Gabriel Match should therefore approach the role with seriousness and the desire to get the job done (Stanislavsky, 2013). In addition, he should be on the lookout for the reactions of the suspects, as with keenness an individual will be in a position to identify who is truly behind the crime.

References

Glaspell, S. (2010). Trifles: A play in one act. Los Angeles, CA: Baker’s Plays.

Stanislavsky, K. (2013). Building a character. Place of publication not identified: Read Books.

Gender Differences in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles

Feminism is concerned with, the ways in which works emphasize or challenge the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women. The broader political and ideological environment of the 1900’s and the socialist feminist communities that she frequented had enormous effect on the works of Susan Glaspell. She wrote her famous play Trifles in 1916.

Women are used to worrying over Trifles, (Glaspell 957). Women always face so much difficulties regarding their gender discrimination. Glaspell’s Trifles points out about all information through the conflict and theme. In the Glaspell’s Trifles males are dominated in the society and are more superior than their wives. If we see in history then we’ll find a lot of information about the men’s potential how they treated their women’s. Even still there some communities who thinks that women are secondary to men.

In Trifles, Glaspell makes a feminist bound as she portrays her female characters with plenty cunning to secretly and simply success over male superiority. Susan Glaspell female protagonists speak in a different voice, the story they tell is one of the patriarchal dominances and oppression (Kamir, 360).

By studying Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, the women and the concept of trifles are related in literature. In this crime story female and effeminized characters are associated with personal characteristics, attitudes and behaviors, because of gender stereotypes and culturally attributed roles. The presence of a female circle determines the awareness and justice as well; it sheds light on stereotypical difference between sexes. How men and women interpret actual situation’s is influenced by their learned behaviors that explain to their stereotypical roles defined by their social realities which integrally generates beliefs and the imposing of pre-existing forms on the gender. This work illustrates the stereotypical gender differences comprehensively.

Females who are the important part of society, had not much freedom in past. They used to stay at home. They just take care of their home and children’s. They were supposed to be at home every time for doing house chores, cooking and serving to husband. They couldn’t go for working outside the house. The setting is “the kitchen in the now abandoned farmhouse of John Wright” where “signs of incomplete works” appear as unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread outside the bread box, a dish towel on the table and other signs of incomplete work (Glaspell, 983). How the story begins entering of the Mr. Hale along with the Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Peter, Sheriff and County Attorney into the Wright’s all messed farmhouse kitchen. They start to find things for Mrs. Wright through their answers they question whether or not Mrs. Wright killed her husband. They assumed that because cold Mr. Wright has killed the bird so as a revenge Mrs. Wright chocked her own husband.

The County Attorney was more involved for find that what was actually happened. He wanted to solve the problem. Mr. Hales is the one when he entered the house to talk to Mrs. Wright, he found mess a lot. He was very shocked that his wife sitting on rocking chair without any emotion.

It seems that County Attorney and Sheriff have a bored view of women and their value to the society. They kind of get the women away as if they are not interesting to do this investigation instead of get the women’s possessions together, and stay busy in the kitchen things. This was the stereotypical society which wants the women to stay in kitchen and do what their husbands tell them to. In this time era, men expected women to keep the house clean and decorated according to the County Attorney in Trifles; Attorney states that, It’s not cheerful. I shouldn’t say she had the homemaking instinct (Glaspell, 1031). Men during this era think that women should only be in the house worrying about what the inside of a house should look.

Glaspell showed that how these men restricting their wives as Mr. Wright did. Before Marriage Mrs. Wright was outgoing person who became bounded at home by her lifestyle and decided to put an end to this sort of life. Unfortunately now she might be spend her remaining life in jail. She put herself out of this miserable life and unrewarding for what she could have been done. It says that she used to wear fancy and beautiful dresses and sing in the chore, until she didn’t get marry to Mr. Wright. The County Attorney and Sheriff were not so extreme as Mr. Wright had been. These men have serious attitude for women that shows that they can be same for their marriage and home as Mr. Wright and Mrs. Wright were.

In the end, this era when Glaspell wrote this play was known for being discriminated towards women’s. Women had not so much support to fight for equal rights. Men treat their wives like servants as they are only made to serve them.

In her article, Holstein refers to Trifles as a “deceptive play” (Holstein 282), and I believe that to be an excellent choice of description. Trifles only casually deceptions as a murder mystery; Glaspell has, in actual, created a fight of the sexes – a real war between men and women, so invisible and silent that not even the characters really know that it exists.

Suzan Glaspell’s Trifles and the Short Story

Suzan Glaspell is an American writer and actress who formed a playgroup known as the Provincetown Players. This was considered as the very first theatre organization in co-temporal America. Suzan is famous for her play and short story known as the Trifles and A jury of her peers.

Trifles were published in the year 1916 after which A jury of her peers was written. The aim was to reach a larger scope of audience. The Trifles story tells of a murder in which vital evidence is under looked as a mere ladies thing (Rights 1). A jury of her peers ascertains Trifles from which real-life concepts are generated. The paper reviews Trifles and A jury of her peers in an attempt to find the difference between the two, and the reasons for adapting the first for the second concept.

The Trifles tells of a murder of John Wright. The suspect, in this case, is his wife Minnie. After apprehending her, the county attorney, Mr. George Henderson and the sheriff Mr. Peters, together with Mr. Hale, a neighbor who also doubles as a witness move to the Wright’s house (Ahmed 105). The aim was to collect any possible evidence to help in pinning Minnie. She had claimed that Wright was murdered by an unknown assailant who performed the act while in bed without her noticing. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters joined them with the intent of helping Minnie with new and clean clothes. The ladies out of feminine curiosity noticed that Mrs. Wright had been secretly traumatized by her bully husband who also killed the canary. The claim is backed by Mrs. Hale’s statement Oh, I wish I’d come over here once in a while! (Glaspell 198) who felt obliged to help Minnie. However, the quilt and the dead canary in a silk wrapping were stolen away to protect Minnie.

The short story A jury of her peers was created from Trifles. It is considered as Suzan’s best short story amongst all she has ever written. In this literary text, she points out gender roles during the start of the 20th century (Glaspell 197). In her review of the Trifles play, she notes of the dangers of isolating people with mental and emotional challenges. To add on, the story also evaluates the duties that neighbors play in an attempt to help one another especially when difficult situations arise. Most importantly, Suzan Glaspell, a female author streamlines the factor of sexism. Here, her story depicts that women roles were outlined. This is evidenced by the menfolk repetitively ignoring the signs that lay in the feminine actions of Minnie.

The short story of A jury of her peers and the Trifles play are known to be similar in almost every aspect. In fact, the Trifles play was simply picked, lifted and placed directly into the short story. Despite the clear nature of similarity, the two stories possess major differences. To begin with, it is important to note that the titles of the play and short story differ in meaning. Considering the Trifles play, the title simply means the concepts that are undermined or rather taken as less important in a situation that calls for solutions. Here, the play simply identifies the interest in the objects which actually have to act as evidence in the judgment of Mrs. Minnie Wright (Glaspell 197). Taking A jury of her peers into consideration, the title simply means a judge of character with regard to friends, families or rather people that one associates with. Here, the title simply notes that the short story directs its initiative to character and attributes within the context. In fact, the story digs deep into the mental realm of the characters pertaining to the story.

The difference lies within the intention of the story despite a similar and sequential channel of concept development. The second notable difference is characterization amongst the concepts (Alharbi 2). The men have been less focused on in the play. However, when it comes to the short story, it is quite obvious that every identifiable mistake comes from the actions of the men. One would precisely say that the play was focused on the women who outplayed the men in finding the evidence. In the short story of A jury of her peers, the focus is on gender with the interest placed in the women. In other words, it exploits the positions of both men and women in society placing more emphasis on the female gender roles in the early 20th century.

Suzan was born in 1876 and later died in the year 1948. Before her death, she had written a good number of short stories including A jury of her peers (Glaspell 201). It is noted that the short story was an inspiration derived from the play which was known as the trifles. However, the reasons for her doing so are still uncertain. However, there are various reasons identified to have inspired the creation of the short story herein. First, the play had received so much success and criticism at the same time. Very many people critiqued the play based on how they understood it. To be exact, Suzan Glaspell went ahead to write a short story regarding the same murder incidence in Dickson country. She clearly drove her point to gender roles in which women were looked at as inferior with limited capacity to perform intellectual duties. For example, in the play, the menfolk ignores the kitchen and a quilt which are typically women roles while Peters mocked them on how the quilt would be completed.

Suzan was also inspired by the fact that the story had moral or rather ethical points to learn from. As an educationist, she intended to outline such values for learners who would use her stories in later times. For example, neighbors helping each other in difficult situations is a paramount step. However, one would wonder if Minnie Wright deserved the protection anyway. According to Glaspell (199), Mr. Hale’s Well, women are used to worrying over trifles quote belittled women intelligence. For such reasons, Suzan Glaspell adapted the Trifle story to teach that the little things people perceive as irrelevant are actually important. Suzan Glaspell seems to point out that leaving people with emotional and mental breakdown holds its dangers to any society. Sometimes, if not suicide, mass murders could result from such predicaments. Minnie was silently undergoing a challenging time from her rude husband who did reach the extent of killing the canary probably to hurt her (Glaspell 195). In any imaginable situation, Minnie needed somebody to talk too. Suzan Glaspell undertook the initiative to write his short story due to the fact that she felt it necessary to convey the life lessons underlying the Trifles play.

Suzan Glaspell is a writer and actress whose works were respected. She was the first American to start an acting company. She is actually famous for her play and story called the Trifles and A jury of her peers subsequently. Trifles depicted a cold blood murder of Wright by Minnie. Searching for evidence turned dramatic when it disappeared without the menfolk noticing. A Jury of her peers was typically an adaption of the Trifles play in which an in-depth analysis was conducted. The difference between the Trifles and A jury of her peers lies within the two titles. Additionally, the characterization of the stories and the gender concentration depicts the difference between the two literary texts. Writing the short story right after the play was simply to explore the meaning underlying the Trifles play.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Assist Instructor Shirin Kamal. “The Spousal Abuse of Women in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles.” Alustath Journal 224 Vol 1 (2018): 101-118.

Alharbi, Aljawharah Hussain Hamad. “The Catalyst: An Indepth Look at the Damaging Effects of the Absent Character in Selected American Plays.” (2018).

Glaspell, Susan. “A jury of her peers.” Literature and Its Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1917): 194-210.

Rights, Equal, and Barbie Doll. “Trifles Essays (Examples)”.

Analysis of the Play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell

Also, caging of the bird in the house, demonstrates another instance of men dominance in the society over the women. Symbolically, the living of bird in the cage, demonstrates the kind of life Minnie was living, a life of minimal no freedom (Rudnick 388). She was not allowed to freely move out of the house.

Murdering of her husband was the only way she had to the freedom. This illustration describes the level of confinement of the women in society and the level of misuse up to the extent of not being allowed to mix with others. The approach of seeking the evidence that would lead to the identification of the suspect by both genders was quite different from that of women emerging more effective and successful. This act as evidence that women have the capability of realizing little thing while men do not afford any attention to these minor but important issues (Mustazza 489).

The bonding of women evidenced in the play had resulted from the fact that they shared the same background of oppression, dissatisfaction, and frustrations, resulting from the gender patriarchal. This made them to live in sympathy of each other. Hiding of glue by the women was a form of bonding with a motive of challenging the judiciary system that was dominated by men. They were so united that they were making every possible effort to protect Mannie from being identified as the suspect to the murder of her husband, John. The killing of the bird by Mr, John signified that he was not pleased by her wife’s behavior of singing just as the caged bird was doing (Bennett 241).

This portrays the level of men dominance in society to the extent that women are not allowed to exercise their freedom and passion. Killing of bird that was the only company Minnie had symbolizes the willingness of the men to dominate the women in the society. Mrs. John was also not allowed to socialize with the outsiders, for instance, there existed no telephone in their house despite being trapped there for long.

From the narration, Minnie was previously well known as a good singer in the church choir specifically before her marriage. However, after her marriage, there was a drastic change. Her love for singing keeps her companied to the bird as her closest friend now that she had no kid (Rudnick 389). The dominance of her husband changed her personality making her to live a life full of limits. Contrary to viewing the home as an arena of comfort, most of the women view their homes as a ground full of oppression and abuses. Reflecting the living of Minnie, her home was just a ground of torture and psychological abuse, where all she lived with is fear that took a better part of her. Minnie’s house was dominated by silence. The extent of silence is symbolically demonstrated by the nonexistence of telephone in Minnie’s house and the violet murder of the bird, the closest company she had, by her husband (Mustazza 489). This is clear evidence that there exists a higher possibility that Minnie was being violated by her husband leading to her isolation from the church choir and the fellow women. The violated individuals tend to isolate themselves from others in fear of being asked what they go through. The life of Minnie is clear evidence that not all women are content with their marriage life, but instead opt to hide their problems from their friends and extended relatives (Carpentier 111). Women do this in their attempt to prevent their marriages from breaking.

The spatial division was the main cause of the creation of pressure between the women (Bennett 260). Joining of hands signifies the effort of women is making in protecting their grievances in modern society with a goal of minimizing the male dominance on them. Hiding of the important evidence from the males is clear evidence that women are making efforts in fighting the existence of the patriarchal situations of the gender. In protection of their affairs and their standing in the society, Wallace refused to consider taking the alibi because she believed by so doing she would ruin the honor of women in modern society (Rudnick 389). In sacrificing for their honor, the women further provide an excuse for the decision made by Gordon Wallace.

In the context of this play, the individual women of honor are meant to dehumanize fellow women. The men in the play are using their names about themselves while on the other hand, the women have been forced to use the names of their husbands as their reference (Makowsky and Veronica 23). This openly demonstrates the magnitude of dominance by men in society. This signifies the superiority of the men’s name over those of their wives. The names that have been used to reference the six women in the play such as the silly one, the mother of one, the mercenary one is an example of a kind where the women are humiliated. These names signified the extent of the women expression in the set society. Low status and demeaning level of women has also been successfully demonstrated in this societal setting. However, the women are making efforts in trying to overcome these prejudices. The expression of the character in saving Wallace from prosecution is an example of saving women reputation in the society. The women are also attempting to fight the existence of the patriarchal relations.

In conclusion, from the observation of various happenings and the unfolding of the play, the writer has demonstrated the increase of dominance in the society. This reflects modern society. Here, the man expresses the patriarchal relations and regard themselves to be more senior than the women. Example of such instances is when the males arrived at John’s home as investigators while the women arrived as mere witnesses and their opinions about the solution in the investigation disregarded. The denial of freedom to the women also expresses the state of oppression that women experience at their homes. For instance, the Minnie had been trapped in her house by her husband. This violates her freedom of movement and association with others. The killing of the company she had, a bird, in also open evidence of the violation of women rights in the society. However, at various instances of the play, there is a description of the attempts the women are making in the protection of their affairs. Women unity and stand for another in a potential threat resulting from the dominance of the males. Hiding of the glue that could have acted as evidence shows the level of support among the women. Support for Wallace in the court also signifies women’s support and unity towards their counterparts. Besides, the women successfully give evidence and other forms of assistance leading to the identification of the suspect in the murdering of John more effectively than men could manage.

What is the setting of Trifles?

A notable number of literature works in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century focused on the concept of gender equality and role of women in what was apparent patriarchal society. On of such literature works is Trifles by Susan Glaspell. Trifles play was authored in 1916 with a view of highlighting the role played by women during the contemporary society of early twentieth century.

It is a classic illustration of the male dominance that was popular during this period. In the play a murderess is used to depict the role assigned to women by men, most of them being unimportant issues or trivialities as the title of the play, trifle, suggests. It illustrates the little regard that men viewed women as people of lesser value and importance than themselves. The idea of male dominance is repeated in several episodes in the play and the misconstruction of facts just because they were associated with women. The key highlight in the play that supports the major problem of patriarchal dominance in the play are the very ironic consequences when it emerged that a woman is the one who discovered what men had been looking for.

According to the dialogue of the play, the men show they do not deem what the women say important or relevant. It is based on a true trial story which happened in Des Moines and the author had covered it while working as a reporter. The events that culminate din the trial was a murder of Mr. John Wright who had been found strangled even as the wife was dead asleep. In the play, Mrs. Wright is depicted as a helpless and isolated woman who depends wholly on the husband. Although the play is based a true trial story, the author managed to enhance the theme of male dominance in the then contemporary society. At the start of the play, men are described to be seeking for a motive at the residence of Minnie and John wright. At the onset of the play, men are depicted as dismissive of the possible leads in the kitchen that could culminate in the identification of murderers. The sheriff is on record saying with finality that there was nothing in this location other than the usual items of the kitchen. It is provoked by the notion that kitchen belongs to women and nothing meaningful can come out of it, especially if men are the ones in charge of the search. To highlight this perception further, the sheriff make derogatory statement of Minnie while mocking her for her bother about fruits, yet she was being held for a murder case.

It is a clear indication of the perception of most men towards kitchen that was commonly considered the territory of women and men are not interested the on goings in there. As a reaffirmation of this perception, the attorney, who is a male, declares that there was little men could do without ladies for all their worries. Although it may sound as glorifying women in the society, it insinuates that the gracious men tolerate the worrying women because of the love they have for them. The reality is not anywhere near this insinuation, because they appreciate and acknowledge the contribution of women only because of their ability to do laundry, cook or clean their houses. In the play, the male characters are such bigot that they characterize women because of their affiliation to men and not according to their intrinsic values as females. All women in the play, safe for Minnie Wright, do not have the first name, but instead, they have taken up the last name of their husbands, yet they are the major protagonists in the story. The male dominance in the setting of this play is so prevalent that the men do not see anything wrong by the unfavorable interest of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters in unimportant things. This has a clear perception that women are small-minded and flighty to be concerned about weighty matters such as the investigation that was going on. When a troublesome kitchen got their attention, they were quick to conclude that the woman of the house must had failed in her abilities as a homemaker.

According to them, the husband, John Wright is a responsible, good man who can only cause trouble because the woman is at fault. In effect they rally behind the fellow man, in order to protect his reputation. This is an explicit indication of a patriarchal society of the early Twentieth Century. The theme of male dominance is further displayed from the meek voices associated with women and the overall disregard of their contribution in finding solutions to the problems in the society. While questioning Mrs. Hale on her relationship with the Wrights, the attorney keeps interrupting her rudely and reducing her contribution to just a wife of a farmer with full hands. In this play, the role of women has been relegated to that of others, who in effect implies that they are not part of the mainstream society. It is clear in this play that women are considered as others and are a representative of what the society would refer to as imperfect or misfit. They are considered as insignificant and are only concerned with their dull trivialities. The boxes of fabric and preserves jars are considered by men as of little value to the investigation because of their association to women. Interestingly, this is a major undoing among the women because their deliberate neglect of these leads is a reason for the case downfall.

Should Mr. Peters and Mr. Henderson had overcome the stereotype of profiling women and all that are associated with them, then the clues from the kitchen could have been of great help in unravelling what befell Mr. Wright. Finally, the play concludes with a discussion of the discovery in the cupboard by Mrs. Peters. While waiting for the male counterparts to examine the crime scene that was located in the upstairs, Mrs. Peters stumble upon a very old birdcage (Gla 1.1.85-86). It was strange for such artefact to be found in the kitchen considering that Mrs. Wright never reared birds. As they kept wondering about the possible source of the cage, the recalled that there was a hawker who was peddling canaries and Mrs. Wright must had bought it. It could later be interpreted that the cage was figurative of the married life that Mrs. Wright was in. Under the normal circumstances and objective reasoning, it would be justified to conclude that Mrs. Wright killed her husband but according to the investigation team comprising of men, believes that such crime was either too high or too complicated to have been committed by a woman. This is what the play indicate as the problem when the decisions are arrived at while looking through the lens of gender and with the wrong mindset that women are inferior to men in all aspect of life.

Symbolism in Trifles by Susan Glaspell

In the play, Trifles, by Susan Glaspell tells a story full of mystery surrounding the murder of farmer, John Wright. Two housewives hide evidence that could be damning for Minnie Wright in the death of her abusive husband. Due to it being a one act play, Glaspell has the opportunity to give hints through foreshadowing, themes of isolation, gender roles, and she also does this through symbolism. By the end they are not wondering who did it, but why.

Glaspell gives the women in her play a voice by making the men stereotypical, flat, characters. The men are self centered and have tunnel vision, whereas the women are more understanding and see the crime from a more dimensional point of view. These stark differences make gender roles a main theme throughout the play. The men are only focused on gathering evidence to convict Minnie, but Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters seek to understand her on a deeper level. They find evidence that helps them realize there is more to the story than it seems. Mr. Henderson, the county attorney, overlooks the small clues that help paint the bigger picture. He ignores Mr. Hale when he tells him Mr. Wright never seemed to care about his wife. Henderson tries to make the mess in the kitchen seem like the fault of Mrs. Wright and bad housekeeping rather than considering her mental state, and when the women come to her defense he says, Ah, loyal to your sex I see. This line is ironic, because the women are in fact loyal to their sex even though Henderson is mocking them. If the men had seen beyond just a dirty home and stopped being so sarcastic they could have found evidence that would have been useful in their case. Glaspell makes Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale seem timid and submissive to their husbands at first, but as the story goes on and the women speak freely amongst each other there is a sense of togetherness and sympathy for Minnie between them. Once they find the dead canary they piece together what has happened. The dead bird combined with what they know has happened to Minnie over the years, helps them understand why Minnie was driven to such an extreme as killing her husband instead of making her seem like the crazed killer the men try to make her out to be.

The canary symbolized everything Minnie used to be and what she longed for. Mrs. Hale says, She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir. From this the reader can interpret that before she became Mrs. Wright, Minnie was a completely different person. The canary was hope and comfort for Minnie that one day she might be happy again and once John took that away from her, she was so devastated and distraught that she became angry enough to kill him. This anger is symbolized in John Wright being strangled, because she killed him in the same way he killed her spirit, hopes, and her bird.

Glaspell made the theme of isolation and the effect it can have on the psyche prominent throughout the play, because it happened to many women during this time period. Mrs. Hale said, We all go through the same things, it’s all just a different kind of the same thing. This line was significant because it solidifies their solidarity as women and the guilt Mrs. Hale has for not helping Minnie, although she had a clue of what was happening. On the other hand the question of whether Minnie could have truly been helped could be asked. John Wright isolated Minnie and he was abusive towards her. Someone who is being abused could be saved in theory, but mentally that person is broken. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters want badly to get justice for Minnie, but they are not sure how to go about it. Ultimately they decide that hiding the dead bird would be best for Minnie.

Glaspell was writing about more than just a mystery, she is portraying the different perceptions between men and women. She was writing on misogyny, and the awful effect it can have on women. When a woman is isolated and abused she can do heinous things that she may not typically be capable of. The question is does Minnie deserve the punishment deserved for murder or has she been punished enough? The women surely seem to think so as they hide the evidence from the county attorney and sheriff. As an oppressed group they felt they had the burden of protecting Minnie.

Social Oppression of Women Theme in Trifles

What are the “trifles” that the men ignore but the women notice? Author shows us stereotypical men whose words and actions shows us they egotistical, thoughtless, self-important, and condescending personalities. And kind and carrying women that have strong sense of female intuition. One of those trifles we can see when Hale states that John Wright never cared what his wife wanted to county attorney.

He stopped Hale because he did not find that to be significant to the crime. Where women in the different seen talk to each other and Mrs. Hale says to Mrs. Peterson that John Wright was a difficult man to live with, she tells her that Mrs. Wright use to be social beautiful soul who loved to sing and after marrying her husband she gets locked up in the cage that she can not get out of. Mrs. Hale even feel guilty for not coming and checking on her long-lost friend Minnie Wright. Both women feel pain and broking emotions of Mrs. Wright and see significant signs for a murder motive. Then we see how county attorney goes thru the kitchen finds a dirty towel and messy dishes and assumes right away that Mrs. Wright was just a dirty housekeeper. Where two women notice that kitchen is not dirty it is in the middle of being cleaned up. Table is half cleaned, Mrs. Wright was trying to bake some bread, and the towel is not dirty is just guy who came to fire the stove cleaned his hands with it. That is just few trifles that men ignore but women notice. In the play Trifles we see difference of men and women way of thinking. The things that men consider insignificant women find very interesting.

The play Trifles has been written in the early twenty’s century when male dominated society still limited women opportunities. Men was a King and women was his dependent. In my opinion authors point here is that the women are very strong, smart and way tougher than any men, when they want and need to be. That nothing can brake us, and if the women will come together, they can protect one another; they can stay strong and empower each other in the time of need.

The gender conflicts in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles

Our whole life consists of trifles, just someone notices them and someone not. The word trifle implies that something is unimportant and worthless. In the play by Susan Glaspell, where three men, the sheriff Henry Peters, the attorney George Henderson and the neighbor Mr.

Hale, along with two women Mrs. Hale and sheriff’s wife Mrs. Peters came to Mr. Wright’s house to investigate his murder. The sheriff asked the neighbor to tell what he saw on the day of Mr. Wright’s death when he went to his neighbor’s house. In the course of the story, women are separated from men. Two women came closer and went to the kitchen in order to continue their conversation there because they needed to collect some personal belongings take them to prison for Mrs. Wright who was accused of murdering her husband. During the inspection of things, women noticed something that the men could not notice because they are convinced that women cannot worry about serious things. Men could not understand why a woman who had a normal life could kill her husband, while women found both the motive and the evidence of the crime. The author gave the play title trifles because of many small details and things were mentioned in the play such as stitches in a quilt, unfinished bread, dead canary, critic of men.

First reason why Glaspell chose Trifles for her title because Mr. Hale said: Well, women are used to worrying about trifles” that she was worried more about her preservatives that jam would burst, but she was not worried at all about that fact that being accused of killing her husband (Glaspell, 16.) All men agreed that all women never worry about more important things than trifles. Holstein in her book says, Trifles is a deceptive play: deceptive because, like its title, it seems simple, almost inconsequential. Yet the play represents a profound conflict between two models of perception and behavior. An exploration of the play reveals a fundamental difference between the women’s action and the men’s, a difference grounded in varying understandings of the home space. That difference culminates, finally, in the establishing of two competing ethical paradigms (Holstein, 1.)

The women noticed that before this unpleasant event Mrs. Wright had bread set, and she didn’t finish shifting it. This suggests that something bad interrupted her to finish it.

Men initially came to the criticism of women’s interest to the quilt. They laughed at the fact that women think Mrs. Wright was going to quilt it or just knot it (Glaspell, 16.) However, this is one of those important Trifles that they need for evidence, but they did not pay attention to it. The main part of the quilt has been so nice and even, but there a small fragment where It’s all over the place (Glaspell, 16.)

Another detail that women found was a birdcage. The door was broken and one hinge was pulled apart. (Glaspell, 17.) It looked so it was opened with anger and forcibly. When they saw the cage, they remembered how well sang Minnie Foster like a bird, but she quitted when she got married. Trying to find a scissors women found a box in which lies a canary with a broken neck. This detail showed the motive of Mrs. Wright why she killed her husband.

If you observe life, it turns out that the most precious things in life are trifles: random words, smiles, looks, a little help, and support. Often, they bring more joy than something global and long. Unfortunately, Mrs. Wright was deprived of this. Subjected to many years of emotional abuse, she lost interest in life. Her husband forbade her to sing because he hated noisy sounds. The only joy that she had all her life was the canary and that fact that he killed the canary killed everything alive in Mrs. Wright. According to the counselor Andrea Mathews, Emotional abuse is an attempt to control, in just the same way that physical abuse is an attempt to control another person. Difficult life on the farm left its mark on the emotional state. Society has a huge impact on people. Standards of that time was a male superiority. The husband is the owner of the house while the woman is a keeper of the hearth. However, many women felt deprived, disadvantaged, depressed and did not feel happy as well as Mrs. Wright.

Based on information from Linda Ben-Zvi, this play is based on real events. In the work, she describes that it is a real story that happened at that time and Linda implies that Susan was present at the inspection of the house. In Susan Glaspell’s Trifles author do more than rework a tale of murder; she reveals in the telling the lineaments of the society that spawned the crime.

The fact that women are united in support of by hiding the canary thereby hiding the evidence of guilt. Thus, they rebelled against the male society. Protecting Minnie Foster in this way, they violate the law that at that time men were creating. Our life consists of small trifles. It looks like a big puzzle which consists of small details and in order to get a big picture we need to put all these little details together. Women from the play Trifles who were paying attention to the trifles were able to solve a more important problem. That is why the author titled the play as Trifles.