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Feminimity and Masculinity in Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essays

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Feminimity and Masculinity in Trifles by Susan Glaspell
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Trifles, a one-act play, written by Susan Glaspell, has an interesting plot about an abusive husband?s murder at the hands of his abused wife on a secluded farm in the Midwest (Russell, pg. 1). The opening scene of the play gives us a great deal of information about the people of the play and their opinions. The play portrays the ways in which men treated women during this time period. The men in the reading reflected a male-oriented society, which caused the women feelings of repression and unappreciation. Throughout the play the actions of Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Hale, and Mrs. Peters resemble that of Greek mythology, where three sisters controlled the fate of men (Russell, pg. 1).

The setting in which the majority of the action takes place is the kitchen. The room is described as ? a gloomy kitchen?-unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread outside the bread-box, a dish-towel on the table-and other signs of uncompleted works?(Roberts and Jones, pg.1150). This description should alert the reader immediately that something is wrong. In the time when this play was taking place, the woman?s sole responsibility was to keep the house in order. Everything I have read from this time period has portrayed the house as a very clean and organized place for the man to come home to. It was supposed to be a place for rest and relaxation. The fact that Mrs. Wright?s kitchen was in such disarray, symbolizes that something was troubling her. In the paragraph describing the scene it is told that the people entered the kitchen in the order of the sheriff, the county attorney, and Hale. The sheriff?s wife and Mrs. Hale followed behind the men, entering last...


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...h some of her own. ?Mrs. Hale symbolically claims her position as the person who spins the thread of life,? (Russell, pg. 1) relating back to Greek mythology. When the men continue to joke about Mrs. Wright?s intention ?to quilt or just knot? it evokes a defensive response in Mrs. Hale which seems to warn them not to tempt fate.

The play ends with the women leaving the house without conveying what they had learned to the men. They felt justified in making a decision not to tell because of the condescending attitudes of the men. Their choice was to do what was legally right and report their findings, or to conceal the truth and vindicate all women (Kearns, pg. 1). Mrs. Hale snatches the box from Mrs. Peters and puts it in the pocket of her big coat to conceal it. The women have no intentions of revealing their finds, and seem to protect Mrs. Wright to the end.


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