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Understanding the Feminism in Susan Glaspell's Trifles Essay

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As I began reading “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, I felt that it had an element of demoralization towards women. In addition to this demoralization, I felt that the imagery and tone elevated the image of the male characters to be superior to women in intelligence. As I read further I realized that the author was attempting to dispel this belief in male superiority. In fact, I felt that the author was illustrating that women are not inferior to men, but have the ability to be superior. Through my research into the context of “Trifles,” I strengthened my understanding of Glaspell’s goal to teach me the inaccuracy of the sexist belief that women are less valuable than men.
Looking further into the context of “Trifles,” it was clear that the setting took place in winter at a time when modern comforts were not available. My knowledge of certain historical facts, regarding the image of women, led me to believe that the play was written before women had a voice, possibly in the early 1900’s. Even though there are small communities that still exist that carry the belief that women are subordinate to men, I didn’t feel this was the case. The mention of using a fire to heat the house, the party telephone, and the way the investigation was carried out were clues that this play took place in the distant past.
While there are still homes that rely solely on wood burning stoves and fireplaces to heat the house, I did not feel this play displayed a modern setting. The fact that the investigation was carried out in a way that would disqualify evidence today, also told me this was not a modern setting. Since some of these clues could be deceiving, I decided research the life of the author. As I looked into the biography of the author, my belief o...


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... new understanding of Susan Glaspell and her exceptional stories and plays, I feel that she used her writing to empower women as equals, or at the least, not subordinate to men.
My original thought of Glaspell’s theme within “Trifles” was the inaccuracy of the sexist belief that women are less valuable than men. My research strengthened my belief in this theme. In addition to strengthening my belief, I feel that my research broadened my understanding of Glaspell’s theme. I do feel that my thoughts may have been a little narrow when I first read “Trifles.” Not only does Glaspell portray the inaccuracy of sexist beliefs, but she also illustrates the intelligence and strength of women. I am confident that the theme that I identified was exactly what Glaspell wanted her readers to understand. Women are intelligent and valuable to society regardless of the views of men.


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