Trifles by Susan Glaspel


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When a person goes through a traumatizing event in their life, they either to choose to accept and move on from the experience or cope with the experience in a negative way. In “Trifles,” by Susan Glaspel, Mrs. Wright deals with the death of her pet bird by what we can gather in the text, by killing her Mr. Wright. In “Trifles” even though the males are dominant in this society, they are the fools to the female characters in the story, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. The fools that are consistent in the story are the males: sheriff, county attorney, and Hale. In the beginning of the story though, the females tend to be the fools as well. What causes these characters to be fools at times is their blindness to the fact that during this time period, the male dominance was considered normal and the females were expected to submit to their husbands. The writer Henry James said that no story “is possible without its fools” (387). Little do the three male characters realize though, their foolish ways is what drives the scenes and motivates the females characters to their motives and actions.
In “Trifles,” Mrs. Hale plays the male characters like fools very easily.
“a gloomy kitchen, and left without having been put in order—unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread outside the bread-box, a dish-towel on the table—other signs of incompleted work” (Glaspell, 1125).
“but I thought maybe if I went to the house and talked about it before his wife, though I said to Harry that I didn’t know as what his wife wanted made much difference to John— (1126).
Her “little things”

The time period plays a lot into the story. Trifles was published in 1916. According to the side notes, party telephones is “a party line in which a number of households each have extensions of a single line, a common arrangement in the early twentieth century, especially rural areas” (Glaspell, 1126). This suggest the time period was either late 19th century or early 20th century. Around this period of time, women did not have many rights. Females did not have the right to vote still. They also could not serve on juries. The male dominancy was apparent and males controlled every aspect of life, except the home life. Back at this time, males had their roles and had their set mind on how women were to be perceived.

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Most women also constited to this lifestyle and believed the males had their best interest. In Trifles, the three males characters were completely against the women thinking they knew anything about the murder of John Wright. They were automatically against the women, despite how quickly the women were able to put clues together of the murder of the bird and how similar other situatons explained the murder of John Wright. Even when the men critixzeisedx the women, they were smart enough to know that the men were overlooking the best evidence possible in the least obvious place in their opinion. The men were adventours and went out to do search and did their invesitingaging in typical manly working places. The women stayed in se kitchen, where the men did not really do any searching. There is humor in this because the kitchen, back in that time, was considered women’s territory or their place to be. They never once seemed to think the evidence of the dead bird and the broken bird cage,would lie in the place of where women were supposed to claim as their territory. These three males felt as if they were better than these women and played the stertoytpical role of that time period. They did not understand how women believed in “trifles” and how certain things were important to them. They treated them as if their opinions were invalid and showed them, once again, they had no say.



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