The Theme of Justice in Susan Glaspell's 'Trifles'

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Susan Glaspell’s most memorable one-act play, Trifles (1916) was based on murder trial case that happened in the 1900’s. Glaspell worked as a reporter, where she appointed a report of a murder case. It was about a farmer, John Hossack who was killed while he was asleep in bed one night. His wife claimed that she was asleep next to him when the attack occurred. No one believed in her statement, she was arrested and was charged on first degree murder. In Trifles, the play takes place at an abandon house at a farm where John Wright and his wife, Minnie Wright lived. John was killed with a rope around his neck while his wife was asleep. The neighbor, county attorney and sheriff came to the crime scene for investigation. Along with them came their wives, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters; they were told to grab some belongings for Mrs. Wright that she may need while she’s in custody. Once they all entered the home the men dismissed the kitchen finding it as unimportant. The three men focused more on legal regulations of the law. The play was mostly revolved around the women, discovering the motive through “trifles” and other symbolic things that had significance to Minnie’s guilt. When Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters understood the reason behind the murdering they hid the evidence from their husbands, and kept quiet. Many readers would visualize this play as a feminist point of view due to women’s bonding in discovering Minnie’s oppressive life after marriage. However Glaspell, provokes two ethical paradigms that have different perspectives of justice. Glaspell uses symbolism to characterize women’s method in a subjective way, by empowering themselves through silence, memories of her and their own lives as well as having empathy about her sit... ... middle of paper ... ...women by making them look unimportant and what they do also insignificant which should be appreciated rather than made fun of. Works Cited Fisher, Jerilyn, and Ellen S. Silber. Women In Literature : Reading Through The Lens Of Gender.. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2003. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 25 Mar. 2014 Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. Portable Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen. Mandell. 8th ed. Boston: Wasworth, 2013. 773-84. Print. Holstein, Suzy Clarkson. "Silent Justice In A Different Key: Glaspell's 'Trifles.'." Midwest Quarterly 44.3 (2003): 282. Literary Reference Center. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. Mael ,Phyllis. "Trifles: The Path To Sisterhood." Literature Film Quarterly 17.4 (1989): 281. Academic Search Elite. Web. 25 Mar. 2014

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how susan glaspell's most memorable one-act play, trifles, was based on a murder trial case that happened in the 1900’s.
  • Analyzes how glaspell uses symbolism to characterize women's method in a subjective way, while men procured an objective approach of finding justice, through insensitivity and linearity.
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