Essay on Male Prejudices in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

708 Words3 Pages
Male Prejudices in Trifles Susan Glaspell's Trifles explores male-female relationships through the murder investigation of the character of Mr. Wright. The play takes place in Wright's country farmhouse as the men of the play, the county attorney, the sheriff, and Mr. Hale, search for evidence as to the identity and, most importantly, the motive of the murderer. However, the clues which would lead them to such are never found by the men. Instead it is their female counterparts who discover the evidence needed, and who are able to do so because of their gender. The male investigators need to find, as Mrs. Peters puts it, "'a motive; something to show anger, or--sudden feeling'" (357). Yet the men never see the uneven sewing on a quilt Minnie Wright was working on before the murder. The quilt is a symbol of Minnie's agitation--her anger. The men, though, laugh at the women's wonderings about the quilt. To them it is of little importance. Likewise, the bird and its cage are easily dismissed. In fact, the men just as easily believe a lie about this bird and cage. When the cage is noticed, its broken door overlooked, the county attorney asks, "'Has the bird flown?'" Mrs. Peters replies that the "'cat got it'" (360). There is actually no such cat, but the men do not know that and never question the existence of it. The bird, however, is vital to the case. Mr. Wright killed the bird, Minnie's bird, which may have provoked her to then kill him. In addition, the strangling of Mr. Wright, a form of murder which perplexes all when a gun was handy, is reminiscent of the strangling of that bird. It is another answer to the men's questions, but an answer they never find. The women, on the other hand, take note of all they see. They notice not only the bird, the cage, and the quilt but other things that the men call "trifles," like Minnie's frozen preserves and her request for her apron and shawl. These women are united, it seems, not only as country wives or as neighbors but on the basic level of womanhood. This is apparent from the start of the play. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters "stand close together near the door," emotionally bonded throughout the play and, here, physically, in a way, too. Mrs.

More about Essay on Male Prejudices in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

Open Document