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Trifles, a Play by Susan Glaspell Essays

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The play Trifles was written by Susan Glaspell in 1916. It reflects the author’s assimilation with culturally tied views of gender and sex roles. As the title of the play, “Trifles”, evokes the concerns of women who are often regarded as trifles—insignificant subjects—that bear little or no significance to the true work of society which is, evidently, fulfilled by men. Glaspell (Susan Glaspell 1902) questions, and thus calls the viewer or reader to also wonder, the comparative value of men’s and women’s work and perspectives by introducing a taut-filled drama that stretches out the development of two different accounts, one female and one male. Holstein (Suzy Clarkson Holstein 2003) contends in her essay, though the questioning Glaspell (Susan Glaspell 1902) raises is not only on women’s roles in society, how knowledge and perspective are evaluated in specific circumstances.
Holstein (Suzy Clarkson Holstein 2003) argues that the two corresponding accounts of Trifles are reposed on “the differences in [men’s and women’s perceptions and behaviors as they are] grounded in the home space” (p. 282). Furthermore, Holstein (Suzy Clarkson Holstein 2003) showed that men in the play approach the Wright house, where Mr. Wright has been found dead, as a crime scene, while the women who escort them through the investigation approach the house as a home. Holstein (Suzy Clarkson Holstein 2003) has determined that the women and the men have two very dissimilar motives for being there—the men, to perform their duties as law professionals, the women, to arrange several belongings to take to the imprisoned Mrs. Wright. Yet she contends that in Susan Glaspell's Trifles the fact that the mutability of their motives is firm, on the part of the men, a...


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...most importantly, that they build a credible narrative motivated by that evidence. Then, since they can sympathize with Mrs. Wright’s anguish, they come to a decision—promptly and without far-reaching dispute—that they must cover up her offense; effectively, they consider that her actions were vindicated. Distinctly, the County Attorney and the Sheriff would take the law and their positions within it in a different way; once more, this is not essentially because of their gender, but due to their professional perspectives and their accustomed behavior of seeing and knowing.



Works Cited

Clarkson Holstein, Suzy. (2003). Silent Justice in a Different Key: Glaspell’s Trifles. The Midwest Quarterly 44 (pp. 282-290).
Glaspell, Susan. (2003). Trifles. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter 6th ed. Ed. NinaBaym. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1893-1903.


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