The Gender Conflicts in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles

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Our whole life consists of trifles, just someone notices them and someone not. The word trifle implies that something is unimportant and worthless. In the play by Susan Glaspell, where three men, the sheriff Henry Peters, the attorney George Henderson and the neighbor Mr. Hale, along with two women Mrs. Hale and sheriff’s wife Mrs. Peters came to Mr. Wright’s house to investigate his murder. The sheriff asked the neighbor to tell what he saw on the day of Mr. Wright’s death when he went to his neighbor’s house. In the course of the story, women are separated from men. Two women came closer and went to the kitchen in order to continue their conversation there because they needed to collect some personal belongings take them to prison for Mrs. Wright who was accused of murdering her husband. During the inspection of things, women noticed something that the men could not notice because they are convinced that women cannot worry about serious things. Men could not understand why a woman who had a normal life could kill her husband, while women found both the motive and the evidence of the crime. The author gave the play title trifles because of many small details and things were mentioned in the play such as stitches in a quilt, unfinished bread, dead canary, critic of men.

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First reason why Glaspell chose Trifles for her title because Mr. Hale said: Well, women are used to worrying about trifles” that she was worried more about her preservatives that jam would burst, but she was not worried at all about that fact that being accused of killing her husband (Glaspell, 16.) All men agreed that all women never worry about more important things than trifles. Holstein in her book says, Trifles is a deceptive play: deceptive because, like its title, it seems simple, almost inconsequential. Yet the play represents a profound conflict between two models of perception and behavior. An exploration of the play reveals a fundamental difference between the women’s action and the men’s, a difference grounded in varying understandings of the home space. That difference culminates, finally, in the establishing of two competing ethical paradigms (Holstein, 1.)

The women noticed that before this unpleasant event Mrs. Wright had bread set, and she didn’t finish shifting it. This suggests that something bad interrupted her to finish it.

Men initially came to the criticism of women’s interest to the quilt. They laughed at the fact that women think Mrs. Wright was going to quilt it or just knot it (Glaspell, 16.) However, this is one of those important Trifles that they need for evidence, but they did not pay attention to it. The main part of the quilt has been so nice and even, but there a small fragment where It’s all over the place (Glaspell, 16.)

Another detail that women found was a birdcage. The door was broken and one hinge was pulled apart. (Glaspell, 17.) It looked so it was opened with anger and forcibly. When they saw the cage, they remembered how well sang Minnie Foster like a bird, but she quitted when she got married. Trying to find a scissors women found a box in which lies a canary with a broken neck. This detail showed the motive of Mrs. Wright why she killed her husband.

If you observe life, it turns out that the most precious things in life are trifles: random words, smiles, looks, a little help, and support. Often, they bring more joy than something global and long. Unfortunately, Mrs. Wright was deprived of this. Subjected to many years of emotional abuse, she lost interest in life. Her husband forbade her to sing because he hated noisy sounds. The only joy that she had all her life was the canary and that fact that he killed the canary killed everything alive in Mrs. Wright. According to the counselor Andrea Mathews, Emotional abuse is an attempt to control, in just the same way that physical abuse is an attempt to control another person. Difficult life on the farm left its mark on the emotional state. Society has a huge impact on people. Standards of that time was a male superiority. The husband is the owner of the house while the woman is a keeper of the hearth. However, many women felt deprived, disadvantaged, depressed and did not feel happy as well as Mrs. Wright.

Based on information from Linda Ben-Zvi, this play is based on real events. In the work, she describes that it is a real story that happened at that time and Linda implies that Susan was present at the inspection of the house. In Susan Glaspell’s Trifles author do more than rework a tale of murder; she reveals in the telling the lineaments of the society that spawned the crime.

The fact that women are united in support of by hiding the canary thereby hiding the evidence of guilt. Thus, they rebelled against the male society. Protecting Minnie Foster in this way, they violate the law that at that time men were creating. Our life consists of small trifles. It looks like a big puzzle which consists of small details and in order to get a big picture we need to put all these little details together. Women from the play Trifles who were paying attention to the trifles were able to solve a more important problem. That is why the author titled the play as Trifles.

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The gender conflicts in Susan Glaspell's Trifles. (2019, Jul 11). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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