Susan Glaspell's Trifles - The Sweetness of Revenge


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Sweetness of Revenge

 

Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles, seems to describe the ultimate women’s suffrage story. No longer will men have an upper hand against women after reading this story. Cleverness will be the key to retaining power from the men in this story. The one thing that woman are criticized for, the idea that women tend to look at the ‘little picture’ instead of the ‘whole picture’, will be there path to victory. Two stories of revenge are told in this story, the revenge of suppression and revenge of being portrayed as ‘unsophisticated, unintelligent’ women. First we have the story of Mrs. Wright and the struggles with her husband, John. Married women throughout history have been portrayed and played the role as being inferior to the husband in marriage. This seems to be the case with Mrs. Wright. Even though John’s public image was somewhat respectable, it was obvious that behind close doors the story was different. There is evidence of abuse in this marriage. First, the discovery of the broken door leads me to conclude that John was very physical and anguished. Second, it is assumed that Mrs. Wrights husband had broke her canary’s neck. The canary, which of course had to be caged, was represented as the old Minnie Foster herself. The canary is a beautiful, free spirited bird that had a sweet voice, as Minnie had at one time. This was the end of the line and ‘Minnie Foster’ was about to be reborn. She would stand up for all those abused and suppressed house wives across the world and makes the first ‘final’ decision she had ever been allowed to make. The bird’s cage was her jail. The bird’s death was her freedom for the fate of the bird was the fate of her husband. John was discovered with a rope tied around his neck, the freedom of a women who could no longer be held down. This was the first implementation of women’s power in the story. The women at Mrs. Wright’s home played an important role in the story as well. The ‘professional’ detectives were busy about the house finding clues to indict Mrs. Wright in the murder case. They ridiculed the women in the house by ‘putting them in their place’ as typical ladies, so worried about small things and useless ordeals. Mrs. Hale noted the stitches in the quilt to be erratically stitched as if something were wrong.

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The authorities laughed at their conversation. Later, while the men were so busy upstairs finding a motive, the women discovered the mangled body of the canary and its cage. They had noticed the neck was broken and finally linked this incident with the murder. The authorities, who simply identified the stitches as merely something only a women could concentrate on, should have realized that this was important to the case. However, the role of men verse women portrayed in this story finally drew the consequence. In no way would these women allow themselves to be mocked. At the end of the story, the county Attorney asked if they had found out what Mrs. Wright was to do with quilt, the women mockingly claimed that she was going to ‘knot’ it. The men who claimed that women always worried about trifles would never realize that these ‘trifles’ would connect Mrs. Wright to the murder. To keep quiet was the revenge of these women. This may be the only time they can claim victory over men. The ultimate victory for women, to outsmart the males authority was finally spoken.


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