In the 1960’s women roles were changing they were getting more involved in the American society. While working as a journalist Susan Glaspell reported a case of a murder which influenced her to write the play Trifles. In the play, Trifles the women are being presented as weak and powerless, a murder has been committed by Minnie Wright. There are a total of five characters in the play, three of them are men and the other two are females. The males are the county attorney, sheriff, and a neighbor farmer. The women are Mrs. Peter and Mrs. Hale. The men are searching for clues to convict Minnie of the crime, while the women find the most important pieces to the crime. In the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, the author demonstrates feminist stereotypes, representations of genders during the era when women had less power.
This symbol is where the desolation that Mrs.Wright felt. The dead canary is the representation of the companionship and how weak Mrs. Wright acted on the scene when Mr. Peters showed up. According to Elke Brown, Mrs. Wright thought that “Wright was a harsh man, who like to have his quiet and disapproved of conversation and singing” causing him to break the bird 's nest. Not only that but he killed his owns wife spirit, turning a happy, Minnie Foster into a lonely, desperate Minnie Wright. It is a reality that Mrs. Wright was pushed away to be in isolation. The second symbol in the play was Mrs. Wright 's quilting. Mrs. Hale realized that the quilt was uneven, and that stitches started well and then ended all wrong. It was “the first clue about Minnie 's real state of mind lies in the fact that parts of the quilt have been sewn together haphazardly, which showed Minnie’s state of mind”, according to Mr. Brown. Her incompleteness leads to quilting. This technique of self is to distress, and that was the way Minnie felt. At the beginning of time, Minnie and her husband had everything flowing until it went down the drain and felt abandoned by Mr. Wright. When this happen, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters felt the same way as Minnie. They talk about how it was not bad at all for Minnie to act like she did and left everything with no anger as the sheriff would have thought. Minnie 's friends also realize that her fruit province broke
Male domination in 1916, when Susan Glaspell’s play Trifles was written, was the way of life. Men controlled most women and women were not very outspoken during that time period. Mr. Wright in her play was no different from the rest, but she made him a symbol of all the men in the community. The play opens at the scene of the crime. The first three characters who enter the room are the three men involved in the investigation of the murder at hand. The purpose of their visit is to find evidence of motivation of murder, but the women who they leave downstairs find the very evidence that they are looking for.
The setting and symbolism of the play act as a portal that allows for the dramatic development of the message and themes. Throughout the play, Glaspell continually uses the setting to demonstrate the differences between men and women during that time period, and further, how the lives and roles of women were devalued and considered unimportant. From the start of the play, the audience immediately gets a feel for the run-down atmosphere of the farmhouse, the life Mrs. Wright must of led, and more importantly, the distinct separation between the male and female sexes. Not only are the genders separated biologically and geographically throughout the play, they also differ in mindset, behavior, and overall thoughts regarding the motive of the murder. This can be seen when Mr. Henderson, Mr. P...
“Without plotting any collaboration, the women instinctively conceal the dead bird in the sewing basket and make excuses to divert the men’s attention” (Zaidman). Both women react, and hide the canary from the men. This action was a small rebellion from their husbands, which at the time, was extremely rare. “‘No, Peters,’ said the county attorney incisively; ‘it’s all perfectly clear, except the reason for doing it… If there was some definite thing- something to show./In a covert way Mrs. Hale looked at Mrs. Peters. Mrs. Peters was looking at her. Quickly they looked away from each other” (Glaspell) The women realize here that they were holding evidence that would give Mrs. Wright motive, and make the case against her. Instead of handing over the canary to the men, they hide it, and that small action represents women fighting back from the oppressive and misogyny of that
John Steinbeck wrote “The Chrysanthemums” where the protagonist, Elisa maintains her flower garden with a flower called Chrysanthemums. In a daily routine, Elisa’s husband Henry is a typical farmer who was busy with his orchard and steers, while Elisa, a housewife tends to her garden as the chrysanthemums were shown as Elisa’s children. Written by Susan Glaspell, “Trifle” was a play about Mrs. Wright who was put through an investigation where she was the main suspect in the case of her husband‘s death. In the play “Trifles”, the canary symbolizes a child for Mrs. Wright who’s also a house wife and she took care of that bird like it was her child. The bird (canary) in “Trifles” is symbolically similar to the flowers in the Steinbeck story “The Chrysanthemums”.
Glaspell exposed how this dominance can be physically and mentally damaging to the women by displaying the sexist interactions between males and females. According to the article “Representations of Rural Women in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles”, Raja Al-Khalili states “Susan Glaspell used domestic violence as a motif to arouse questions concerning motives that lead women, who are relegated to the house, to become physical aggressors.” (132) Glaspell uses hidden clues such as the men having important professions, and how these professions play a huge role in the hierarchy of male dominance. These specific professions were being the town’s sheriff and the court appointed attorney. Another example, in the beginning of the play, Glaspell uses great imagery to show us the men stand by the stove and the women by the door during a cold time. This essays demonstrates the changes the characters underwent and displays the physical and mental damage that Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Wright, and Mrs. Peters endured during this male central
George, Henry, and Mr.Hale have no remorse for Mrs.Wright and poke fun of the cleanliness of the house. The men lose interest in the kitchen and venture upstairs in hope of discovering evidence. The women want to put a basket together to give Mrs.Wright, so they stay in the kitchen. While searching for items that might bring her comfort the two stubble across a broken birdcage. Mrs.Hale made a connection that the birdcage cage resembled Mr.Wright’s anger. It became surreal, what Mrs.Wright endured for many years alone. Then they found lost freedom, a dead canary. Mrs.Wright loved to sing, but her husband did not appreciate this passion. Unable to do what she loved, Mrs.Wright bought a canary, something that would sing, but Mr.wright was disgusted with it and twisted the canary’s neck. Everything fell into place and the women knew they had to protect Mrs.Wright, they were done with being quiet. “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”(Johnson, ARP, 1141). It was this moment they knew they were going to help Mrs.Wright even if it meant hiding evidence. These three women revolted in a male-dominated
The obvious representation is directly shown in the quote: “She—come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself—real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and—fluttery” (Glaspell 750). This quote by itself is completely superficial, but it is written to allow the reader to find the other, subtle comparisons between Minnie and the songbird. For example, the canary was found dead with a noose tied around its neck, simply because Mr. Wright disapproved of its singing. The noose could be interpreted as Wright stymying Minnie’s happiness and personality, while she herself is represented by the bird. “She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir” (Glaspell 747). Minnie used to be in the choir and sing beautifully, much like the canary. This annoyed her husband however, so he took it away from both of them. While Minnie does not die, unlike the songbird, inside she feels dead as she has to live according to the rules and ideas of another man, rather than being independent. When Minnie finds the canary dead in the cage, (which restricts the bird’s freedom, just as Wright restricts Minnie’s) she realizes how much her life had been restricted by Wright by seeing herself in the bird. Therefore, she kills him in the same fashion that he murdered the bird not just in revenge for killing a family pet, but also because she wanted to be free again, and while
Mrs.Hale and Peters discover that Minnie Wright strangled her husband after he killed her bird. Her bird represented her happiness and her freedom and once John Wright took that away from her, Minnie tried to take it back, by killing John. Just as John had control over the Minnie’s life, the men control the progression and structure of the play. As the men the walk in and out of scene the plotline changes.Showing that the play needed it needed men to act in order for the plot move along, as did society mandate that men control women Glaspell deliberately casts the play in a single scene, to reinforce her critique on society and how in in this era demanded that a man had taken charge and have control over a woman because, “women are used to worrying over trifles.” (11) This fallacy is what rationalises, the women hiding incriminating evidence and to hide the evidence. Despite, Mrs. Peters protests, “But, Mrs.Hale, the law is the law.” (15) Although, it is hard to rationalise any murder, Mrs.Hale and Peters help protect Minnie Foster from having her happiness from being taken
Entrenched in irony, the title holds immense significance. It is based on the arrogant, condescending line by Hale, “ well, women are used to worrying about trifles” (1.132). All the things women are reduced to doing—cleaning, cooking, quilting—are deemed insignificant trivialities. Moreover, the men pay little attention to the activities of women, which is a quintessential asset in the play. While the men go off to look in the bedroom where the murder happened, the women stay in the kitchen and other “useless” areas, and end up solving the crime. They look in the kitchen and in bag of quilt pieces and uncover the dark secret that enveloped the Wright home. Putting together clues, they decipher Mr. and Mrs. Wright’s deleterious marriage and the cruelty that possessed Mr. Wright. By worrying about so-called trifles, they ended up solving the crime that the egotistical men could not.
...ad to his death by her hands. The symbolisms of the unfinished quilt and canary created by Susan Glaspell clearly identify such standards that are present in this society. While the bird represented the last living joys of Minnie’s life the quilt juxtaposed the struggle and loneliness. When all the joys of life is taken away from you it leaves a sense of despair with nothing to live for driving Minnie into insanity. The men’s pompous attitude causes the women to feel defensive and form ranks. Not only do Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters bond, but they choose to hide evidence as an act of compassion for Minnie. Stealing the box with the dead bird is an act of loyalty to their gender and an act of defiance against a callous patriarchal society.
In Susan Glaspell 's "Trifles," the sheriff, Henry Peters, and the county attorney, George Henderson, arrive with the witnesses, Lewis Hale, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Hale at John Wright 's farmhouse, where the police are investigating Wright 's murder. While the men are investigating upstairs, the women discover a quilt and decide to bring it with them, although the men tease them for pondering about the "trifles" such as the quilt. The women discover an empty birdcage and eventually find the dead canary in a box in Mrs. Wright 's sewing basket while they are searching for materials for the quilt. The canary has been strangled in the same manner as John Wright. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale decide to hide the evidence, and the men are unable to find anything that could break the murder of John Wright – no evidence that will prevent Mrs. Wright from being acquitted by a future jury. Glaspell 's continued focus on the specificities and stereotypes of gender
”She--come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself--real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and--fluttery” (8). The bird represents Mrs.Wright in the story. The innocent canary was trapped in the birdcage just like old Mrs.Wright was trapped in her marriage. In the early 1900’s women did not yet have the right to divorce their husband.
Trifles by Susan Glaspell tackles the problems of the patriarchal systems that women have lived in. The focus of Trifles is bringing the oppression of women to the public. However, I believe that understanding the different roles men played in Trifles and will give a new perspective of the trials women went through in this proto-feminist play. As such, this essay will explore the roles men played in the lives of women. Specifically, what aspects of the writing illustrate the implied authority of men and the active oppression over Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. In addition, interesting aspects of the subtexts are found in metaphors and motifs of the text. These metaphors are indicative of the behaviors women had to attain in response to male dominance. Finally, by analyzing the relationship of the antagonist against protagonist and where the chracters sit on the axis of conflict