Symbolism of Sexism in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

The theme of sexism is dominant in Trifles since there is a lot of sexual tension between the women and the men. All the characters within the play try hard to discover life’s meaning. The suppressed desires in the play explore new feminist theories amongst the married couples. Although the play was written in the 1920s before the women’s movement began, it is surprising how the traditional methods of thinking continue even today. The primary aim of this paper is to highlight some of the symbols representing the theme of sexism.

The title of the play Trifles is symbolically used to show how men view women. A trifle is something small which has no value. Throughout the play, Glaspell employs dialogue which indicates how men demean women. Mr. Hale declares that ‘Women are used to worrying over Trifle” (Glaspell, 2010). Men have in mind some of the demeaning responsibilities and tasks which should be completed by women. Ironically, as men rush around trying to identify hints, the women have already discovered the explanation to the mystery of what is considered as meaningless women’s tasks.

During the description of the opening scene, an abandoned kitchen is mentioned. Glaspell describes John Wright’s Kitchen as gloomy and left with things not in order. There are dirty utensils under the sink, bread out of the breadbox, a dishcloth on the table and all these are symbols of incomplete house chores. Glaspell tries to explain that these house chores are primarily meant to be done by the women. Besides, during the entry of the five characters in the performance, the females stand far from the males who were gathered at the stove. The women seem not to know each other, and they rarely call each other by their first name. However, once they made degrading remarks about Minnie’s housekeeping, ‘the two women move close together (Glaspell, 401).’ This movement symbolizes the bond existing amongst women.


Read more