The Construction of Gender Roles in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles

Trifles by Susan Glaspell is a play with a unified plot and includes verbal flashbacks to the events that led to the murder of John Wright. The themes highlighted in the play are based on the context of the events, and they include isolation, gender, patriarchy, and the plight of women. However, the moral dilemma in the play cuts across the styles and themes employed.

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The women pieced together the clues of the unresolved mystery of the death of Mr. Wright. They make use of the kitchen items and other things that the police considered trifle to find the murderer. However, they decide to withhold the information from the authorities. The moral dilemma in this context is based on whether or not it was morally correct for the women to protect Mrs. Wright who murdered Mr. Wright. It then raises questions such as, were the women justified to do what they did, and are their actions acceptable considering the plight of Mrs. Wright and that of women in general in a male-dominated and patriarchal society? These are the fundamental issues that this analysis seeks to examine.

Smith, Nicole. “Analysis of the Play Trifles By Susan Glaspell.” (2011): n. pag. Web. 29 Nov. 2018. https://www.articlemyriad.com/analysis-play-trifles-susan-glaspell/

The author of this article, Smith Nicole, highlights the background of the playwright Susan Glaspell. The article highlights some of the most critical aspects of the play with respect to themes, styles, and implications. The author argues that the play mirrors Glaspell’s concern with culture- tied views of sex and gender roles. The core of this analysis by Nicole shows that the narrative of Trifle is based on the difference between men and women’s perceptions as well as behavior. The question is, do these differences contribute to problems such as domestic violence and abuse of women? The same questions that make the women connive and protect Mrs. Write from a murder conviction. The article highlights facts that point to the idea that women in this play are oppressed, and this could have contributed to their action.

From an individual viewpoint, the article is invaluable as it demonstrates the inherent themes and styles as used for better understanding of the play. The source was useful and helps shape the argument that the moral dilemma that the women find themselves in is a result of their intuition to protect “one of their own”. However, the content of this article does not change my perception of the topic.

Linda, Ben-Zvi. Murder, She Wrote: The Genesis of Glaspell Susan’s Trifles. Theatre Journal 44.2 (1992): 141“162. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.

Linda Ben-Zvi in this article investigates the motivation behind Glaspell Susan’s Trifles. The author looks at some of the similar works such as ‘Women Who Kill’ by Ann Jones and her study of women murderers. The argument in this article is that women are more likely to kill when pushed beyond limit. Looking at the content of this article, one can see how it mirrors the play especially with respect to the plight of women and how they are suppressed in male-dominated societies. The argument is that women who kill evoke fear since they challenge the societal construct of the feminity. It can also mean that women can conspire to challenge male dominance and societal construct. Just as already indicated, expectations of women are at the center of this play, and the same is what Linda Ben-Zvi refers to in this article.

The article is useful as it shows what motivate women to kill, and especially kill men, and this can help us understand why Mrs. Wright decided to end Mr. Wright’s life. The article, in an attempt to illustrate what motivated the creation of Trifles brings to our understanding some of the emotional issues that make women commit heinous acts like murder. It is then possible to draw from the content of this article to understand why Mrs. Wright and the women behaved the manner in which they did. The information provided by the author reliable and relevant to the topic of the study. The objective of this source is to examine the behavioral tendencies of women who engage in homicide by comparing works of writers who have written on the same issue. By making a comparison, the author can highlight themes that cut across the different works of authors, and this is important in understanding the behavior of women like Mrs. Wright. Moving to the usefulness of this source, it is indeed useful as it makes a more in-depth and incisive look into the behavior of women based on societal expectations. This source can provide clues as to why the women decided to protect Mrs. Wright. Finally, the source has not changed my view of the topic, and on the contrary, it has enhanced my belief that women can be pushed to murder and sometimes women can also conspire to protect one of their own against patriarchy not just in the context of this play but also in the purview of livelihood. I can personally attest to this!

Janet, Grace L. Glaspell Susan’s Trifles and a Jury of Her Peers: Feminine Communication and Reading. Tennessee Philological Bulletin 36 (1999): 37-48. Online. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.

In this article, the author has made an in-depth comparison of two works of art, Susan Glaspell’s Trifles” and A Jury of her Peers.” These writings have inherent similarities concerning themes and even the style of writing. The two works of literature are similar from a literary perspective based on the themes and settings. For example, in the 1900s gender differences was a big issue. Women had societal expectations, they were expected to behave in certain and cultured ways, and their place in society was defined within the context of the societal structure. The basis of arguments in this article is that historical context has a significant impact on the storyline of a novel or even a play and the same applies to Glaspell Susan’s Trifles and a Jury of Her Peers. The two literary works examine gender inequality and the place of women in society. The question of gender relations is an interconnected issue that in most cases comes with a historical background. The explanation for this is based on the fact that the theories of individual and group dynamics are symptoms of the society abstract.

Based on the content of the article concerning the topic of study that seeks to examine the moral dilemma among the women in the play, it can be argued that the source is useful as it provides the much needed background information and facts pertinent to the issues of concern. The article can help shape the argument that gender roles in the 1900s suppressed the women and made them victims of oppression and that is why in an attempt to free themselves, the women engaged in heinous actions like murder and dishonesty. Moreover, the article has changed my perception of the topic by demonstrating that it is necessary to analyze gender-related issues in the play in the context of the historical period and time. This is an essential fact when dealing with issues of gender and gender roles.

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