Everyday Roles and the Female Choice

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A work of literature often subtlety alludes to a situation in society that the author finds particularly significant. Susan Glaspell incorporates social commentary into her play Trifles. By doing so, she highlights the gender stratification that exists even in the most basic interactions and presents a way to use this social barrier to an acceptable end. Despite being written almost a century before present day, Glaspell’s findings and resulting solution are still valid in a modern context. Trifles demonstrates the roles of men and women in their everyday behaviour and interaction. The women use their ascribed positions to accomplish what the men cannot and have the ability to deliberately choose not to help the men with their newfound knowledge. Trifles is an excellent example of gender stratification at the most basic level: everyday conversation and behaviour. Interactionists have observed common patterns which reoccur in everyday interaction between men and women. Like in Glaspell’s work, men have been shown to regularly change the topic of conversation and disregard a woman’s ideas. (Kumbamu) Throughout the play the County Attorney interrupts or considers the women’s concerns to be merely ‘trifles’ by wishing to ‘talk more of that…later.’(Glaspell 141) The women’s actions exemplify what are considered to be female behavioral roles. The women except and do not challenge the obvious male verbal dominance and instead prove to be adaptable to the circumstances and provide emotional support. (Kumbamu) Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are unwillingly put into a ‘lonesome’ environment they normally would have stayed away from. (Glaspell 143) Despite their uncomfortable situation, they instinctually support each other and defend Mrs. W... ... middle of paper ... ... be applied to modern situations of gender stratification. Works Cited Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” Literature: A World of Writing. Ed. David L. Pike and Ana M. Acosta. New York: Pearson Longman, 2011. 139-45. Print. Grose, Janet L. “Susan Glaspell’s Trifles and ‘A Jury of Her Peers’: Feminine Reading and Communication.” Tennessee Philological Bulletin: Proceedings Of The Annual Meeting Of The Tennessee Philological Association 36 (1999): 27-48. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. Holstein, Suzy Clarkson. “Social Justice In A Different Key: Glaspell’s Trifles.” Midwest Quarterly: A Journal Of Contemporary Thought 44.3 (2003): 282-90. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. Kumbamu, Ashok. “Chapter 12: Stratification by Gender.” University of Alberta. 8 Nov. 2011. Lecture.

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