The Changing Roles of Women in Susan Glaspell’s "Trifles" Essay

The Changing Roles of Women in Susan Glaspell’s "Trifles" Essay

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In Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, the theme of contrasting roles between men and women is magnified by the setting of a lonely, Midwestern farm isolated from the public. This play demonstrates how different the roles between men and women were, and how women were treated. Trifles, also illustrates the changing times in the late 19th century to early 20th century. During this time period, women become more independent and wanted to be equal to men instead of inferior to them.

Trifles, takes place in the late 1880s to early 1900s on a Midwestern farm in a small town. The play is about a woman named Minnie Wright who is a suspect in her husband’s murder. The police begin to search through the Wright home looking for evidence to convict Mrs. Wright. While the police are searching Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peter, two neighbors, are commenting on the house and the Wright’s lives. The men make fun of what the women are talking about, belittling what they are saying and what they are thinking about. While the police are searching for evidence to convict Mrs. Wright, the two women find a dead bird in her sewing kit. The bird has been strangled to death with a rope, which is mysteriously the same way Mr. Wright had died. The women discover the truth about what happened to Mr. Wright by observing the Wright’s home life. The two women conclude that Mrs. Wright was a lonely woman due to Mr. Wright’s cold and impersonal manner and the fact that she had no children. The women believe that she bought a canary to keep her company, but Mr. Wright strangled it because of his cold nature. They believe this is what made Mrs. Wright murder her husband. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peter hide the bird from the police to protect Mrs. Wright so she cannot b...


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...erstand why she finally snapped and did what she did. If this play had taken place even 50 years earlier, the women would have obeyed their husbands and turned over the incriminating evidence. This is just one of the many ways women of that time period began to slowly fight for their rights and stand up for themselves.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, women’s and men’s roles were drastically different. It was believed that the woman’s place should be in the kitchen and the home while the man worked outside. This statement is false considering the fact that women not only worked inside, but they also assisted men outside. Men were respected and considered superior to women, while women were treated with discrimination and disrespect. The play Trifles, by Susan Glaspell is the perfect illustration of these gender differences, and women’s changing role in society.

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