I enjoyed this reading this play because the men in the play were typical men-folk. They put on this persona that they are the most important creatures on Earth. They act as if they were Sherlock Holmes himself when in actuality they are not nearly as vigilant as the female characters. Their high-mighty attitude made the women feel inferior and because of that common feeling they form a bond between the three of them. Through this bond they decided to keep the evidence they found and Mrs. Wright’s secret to themselves. Taking the box with the dead bird was them demonstrating gender loyalty and an act of rebelliousness against a the self-righteous male-dominate...
Trifles by Susan Glaspell is a one-act play centered around a woman, Mrs. Wright, who allegedly murdered her husband, Mr. Wright, in the night. There are no witnesses of his death; only unofficial confessions and he-said she-said talk. Without viable evidence and information (and the absence of Mrs. Wright altogether), the play soon focuses on a group of people who gather at the Wrights’ home the day after the murder. These characters include a male sheriff, county attorney, and neighboring farmer and their two wives. It is their job to determine what truly happened to Mr. Wright and piece together any evidence that would enable the conviction of Mrs. Wright. It is with the plot, setting, and overall use of symbolism that Glaspell communicates her message and themes. These messages and themes, which are the glue to the play, allow the audience to understand how unhappy of a life Mrs. Wright lived and how men viewed women’s roles as unimportant.
“Trifles” by Susan Glaspell is a literary breakthrough. Thought by many to be the first piece of modern work advocating women 's rights, this play made a splash into the male dominated era of the early nineteenth century. Set on a farm after the murder of Mr. Wright, three male characters assign themselves with the position of investigators, while their two wives serve as mere gatherers for the convicted felon Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Peters, one of the women, deliberately challenges society 's social norms. With the surrounding males confining her to only domestic functions, Mrs. Peter not only questions yet takes on his male dominated role, providing justice for a fellow female. By leaving the theme of justice in the hands of Mrs. Peters, Glaspell
Susan Glaspell's Trifles explores the classical male stereotype of women by declaring that women frequently worry about matters of little, or no importance. This stereotype makes the assumption that only males are concerned with important issues, issues that females would never discuss or confront. The characters spend the entirety of the play searching for clues to solve a murder case. Ironically, the female characters, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, uncover crucial evidence and solve the murder case, not the male characters. The men in the play, the Sheriff, County Attorney, and Hale, search the scene of the crime for evidence on their own, and mock the women's discussions. The women's interest in the quilt, broken bird cage door, and dead canary, all of which are assumed to be unimportant or trifling objects, is what consequentially leads to their solving of the crime. The women are able to discover who the killer is by paying attention to detail, and prove that the items which the men consider insignificant are important after all.
I. Article Summary: Suzy Clarkson Holstein's article, “Silent Justice in a Different Key: Glaspell's 'Trifles'” evaluates the play Trifles and how the difference between the men in the play mirror how a woman's perspective is very different from a man's. Trifles is about two women, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, who show up at a house with their husbands and the county attorney to investigate a murder. The entire time the men are looking for evidence to implicate the accused wife, Minnie Wright, of killing her husband. Meanwhile, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are there to gather up some items to bring Minnie Wright in jail. While doing so, the women uncover evidence that would prove the wife is culpable but decide to hide it from the men in the last moments of the play. Trifles is evaluated on how the women are able to come up with the evidence unlike the men because they didn't approach it like a crime scene but rather a home, “By contrast, the women arrive at a home. Although neither they or the men realize it, they too are conducting an investigation” (Holstein 283). Holstein also notes they are able to find evidence because they use their own life experiences to relate to the accused murderer, Minnie Wright as shown here; “But the women do not simply remember and sympathize with Minnie. They identify with her, quite literally” (285). Holstein finishes the article by noting the women decide to hide the evidence because of the solidarity they feel towards Minnie Wright; “From Mrs. Hale's perspective, people are linked together through fragile, sometimes imperceptible strands. The tiny trifles of life –a neighbor's visit, a bird's song, the sewing of a quilt –have profound reverberations” (287).
Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles, was written in 1916, reflects the author’s concern with stereotypical concepts of gender and sex roles of that time period. As the title of the play implies, the concerns of women are often considered to be nothing more than unimportant issues that have little or no value to the true work of society, which is being performed by men. The men who are in charge of investigating the crime are unable to solve the mystery through their supposed superior knowledge. Instead, two women are able decipher evidence that the men overlook because all of the clues are entrenched in household items that are familiar mainly to women during this era. Glaspell expertly uses gender characterization, setting, a great deal of symbolism and both dramatic and verbal irony, to expose social divisions created by strict gender roles, specifically, that women were limited to the household and that their contributions went disregarded and underappreciated.
To begin, in both plays the men dismiss the women as trivial. In Trifles, when Mrs. Wright is being held in jail for the alleged murder of her husband, she worries about the cold weather and whether it will cause her fruit to freeze which will burst the jars. After the women come across a shattered jar of canned fruit, they converse about Mrs. Wright’s concern about the matter. Mrs. Peters states, “She said the fire’d go out and her jars would break” (Glaspell 918). The women here identify with Mrs. Wright’s concern, because they understand the hard work that goes into canning as part of the demanding responsibilities women endure as housewives. The Sheriff’s reply is “Held for murder and worryin’ about her preserves” (Glaspell 918). In other words, the men perceive the event as insignificant; they clearly see women as a subservient group whose concerns hold little importance. Likewise, the reader can relate to this treatment in A Dollhouse, when Torvald complains to Nora about spending Christmas time the previous year making frivolous ornaments instead of devoting it to family. Torvald says, “It was the dullest three weeks that I ever spent!” (Ibsen 1207). He believes her role i...
The main idea showed in Trifles, the male character, and the empathy described by the females is why the author shows everyone that in every section of this play. Throughout the play, the women were being ignore and belittled by men. With their role, it is showing how back in the early 1900’s men were figured as gods. Women had to give all attention to the children, housekeeping and especially taking care of their spouse. Even though the women think very different as to what men use to think, they still maintain a close relationship in respecting the man 's job. According to Elke Brown, “ As a sheriff 's wife, she is married not only to Mr. Peters, the person but also to his profession”. The women are giving their world just so the men can be satisfied with the job they have and not cause any other problem other than their job. During the play, the men are only looking for hard concrete clues. They seem not to see the reality behind minor things. Mrs. Peters is directed by this belief until she remembers the stillness in her house after a child had died. This memory produces a dominant bond between her and Minnie 's experience of isolation and loneliness. The scene where exactly Mrs. Peters herself attempts to hide the box with the dead canary in it. She is well aware that this action that happens, which can apply to on the society and the way her husband wants the things done. Just because her husband stands
In the 19th Century, women had different roles and treated differently compared to today’s women in American society. In the past, men expected women to carry out the duties of a homemaker, which consisted of cleaning and cooking. In earlier years, men did not allow women to have opinions or carry on a job outside of the household. As today’s societies, women leave the house to carry on jobs that allow them to speak their minds and carry on roles that men carried out in earlier years. In the 19th Century, men stereotyped women to be insignificant, not think with their minds about issues outside of the kitchen or home. In the play Trifles, written by Susan Glaspell, the writer portrays how women in earlier years have no rights and men treat women like dirt. Trifles is based on real life events of a murder that Susan Glaspell covered during her work as a newspaper reporter in Des Moines and the play is based off of Susan Glaspell’s earlier writing, “A Jury of Her Peers”. The play is about a wife of a farmer that appears to be cold and filled with silence. After many years of the husband treating the wife terrible, the farmer’s wife snaps and murders her husband. In addition, the play portrays how men and women may stick together in same sex roles in certain situations. The men in the play are busy looking for evidence of proof to show Mrs. Wright murdered her husband. As for the women in the play, they stick together by hiding evidence to prove Mrs. Wright murdered her husband. Although men felt they were smarter than women in the earlier days, the play describes how women are expected of too much in their roles, which could cause a woman to emotionally snap, but leads to women banding together to prove that women can be...
The power of women is different than that of men. Women display a subtle and indirect kind of power, but can be resilient enough to impact the outside world. In Trifles, Susan Glaspell delivers the idea that gender and authority are chauvinistic issues that confirm male characters as the power holders, while the female characters are less significant and often weak. This insignificance and weakness indicated in the play by the fact that the women had the evidence to solve a murder, but the men just ignored the women as if they had no value to the case at all. This weakness and inability of the female to contest the man’s view are apparent. According to Ben-Zvi, “Women who kill evoke fear because they challenge societal constructs of femininity-passivity, restraint, and nurture; thus the rush to isolate and label the female offender, to cauterize the act” (141). This play presents women against men, Ms. Wright against her husband, the two women against their spouses and the other men. The male characters are logical, arrogant, and stupid while the women are sympathetic, loyal, and drawn to empathize with Mrs. Wright and forgive her crime. The play questions the extent to which one should maintain loyalty to others. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale try to withhold incriminating evidence against Mrs. Wright, and by challenging the reader to question whether
If your husband had just been murdered, would your first concern be of your jar of preserves bursting? The short story “ A Jury of Her Peers” and play “Trifles” share an abudance of similarities. The setting in both takes place during winter in Dickson County, Nebraska. This is a rutal town located in the farm belt of the United States in the early part of the 1900’s. Glaspell craftfully uses the discussions between the characters and symbolism in both stories to bring focus to and reject how males viewed and treated females in rural America in the 1900’s.
“The treatment of women in ‘Trifles’”, a web site that analyzes the demeanor of women throughout the play, states “ The women are betrayed as if they are second class citizens with nothing more important to think about, except to take care of the medial household chores like cooking, cleaning, and sewing.
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...
I like this play quite a lot. It's got murder, mystery and deceit. It's interesting that the play bases a lot on stereotypes. The men are the sheriff, deputy and the attorney sent out to discover the details of the murder of a man found hanged in his bed. They look carefully in the bedroom and outside in the barn for clues and the women are sent in, I think initially, to gather some things for Mrs. Wright. The women are mocked at by the men. Worrying about things like jelly freezing and sewing. Mrs. Hale "Oh, her fruit; it did freeze. She worried about that when it turned so cold. She said the fire'd go out and her jars would break"; Hale "Well, women are used to worrying over trifles." They are not taken seriously. They are women and are not intelligent enough to understand the concept of solving a murder. The men forgot, it's the little things that bother people the most and for Mrs. Wright, it must have been death of her canary.
Susan Glaspell’s Trifles (1916), is a play that accounts for imprisonment and loneliness of women in a patriarchal society. The plot has several instances where women issues are perceived to be mere trifles by their male counterparts. The title is of significant importance in supporting the main theme of the story and developing the plot that leads to the evidence of the mysterious murder. Trifles can be defined as things of less importance; in this story dramatic, verbal and situational irony is used to show how the insignificant trifles lead to a great deal of truth in a crime scene investigation. The title of the story “Trifles” is used ironically to shape the unexpected evidence discovered by women in