Susan Glaspell's Trifles - The Loyalty of Mrs. Hale


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The Loyalty of Mrs. Hale in Trifles  

The major idea I want to write about has to do with the way Mrs. Hale stands behind Mrs. Wright even though it seems like everyone else especially (the men) would rather lock her up and throw away the key. We see this right away when she gets on the County Attorney for putting down Mrs. Wright’s house keeping. I find this to be wonderfully symbolic in that most women of this time usually allowed the men to say whatever they wanted about their sex, never standing up for themselves or each other

You notice this to be so because Mrs. Peters is struggling against what she is hearing the men say versus what she feels herself. When Mrs. Hale tells Mrs. Peters that she would hate for the men to be in her kitchen snooping around and criticizing, Mrs. Peters responds by saying "Of course it’s no more than their duty". This reflects to me a lady who has been so brain washed by the manly view of her time that she can’t even see the simple feelings that women feel for and between each other.

We then come to the part where the ladies are talking about Mrs. Peter’s interactions with the other women in town. Mrs. Hale said she was not part of the Ladies’ Aid (which seemed like the thing for the women to do in that town), she dressed shabbily which she never did before becoming Mr. Wright’s wife. Mrs. Hale also clearly states that she does not believe that Mrs. Wright killed her husband whereas Mrs. Peters is struggling with this, saying that the Attorney thinks it looks bad because she did not wake up when her husband was being killed in bed right beside her. Mrs. Hale takes the view I would by saying don’t blame her because obviously he didn’t wake up either or maybe he would be alive or at least maybe he could have awakened her in his struggle.

Another symbolic part of the play is when the men overhear the women talking about Mrs. Wright’s quilt, wondering if she was going to quilt it or knot it, and they laugh at them. Mrs. Hale is immediately offended by the way they laughed at them where Mrs. Peters is apologizing for them because "they have a lot on their minds".

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Yet they had enough time to joke the women. There again makes me angry with Mrs. Peters because she is simply not standing up for women but allowing the men to run all over her and make her feel inferior. So to get back at the men more, which I’m sure was part of it, she pulls out the stitching in which it look like Mrs. Wright was angrily putting her quilt together. The other part of Mrs. Hale doing that was to make it harder for the men to find anything against her (I believe). For the first time here we see Mrs. Peters actually saying something for rather than against Mrs. Wright: Mrs. Hale asks Mrs. Peters what she thinks Mrs. Wright was so nervous about and Mrs. Peters says she sews queer sometimes herself and that it’s not strange.

Mrs. Hale also makes a point of giving a characteristic of "good Mr. Wright". She said "Yes--good; he didn’t drink, and he kept his word as well as most, I guess, and paid his debts. But he was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to pass the time of day with him. Like a raw wind that gets to the bone."

The most insightful part of this was when Mrs. Hale said "I might have known she needed help! I know how things can be--for women. I tell you it’s queer, Mrs. Peters. We live close together and we live far apart. We all go through the same things--it’s all just a different kind of the same thing." What she is talking about here is something that we as women still deal with today. Instead of standing up for one another we are catty to each other and very quick to criticize. We are literally still going through the same things if you’re a mother, or not, career woman, or not, and no matter what race or religion you are.

At the end the women do in fact come together and conceal the bird (probably the only thing in the house the men could have found to put against Mrs. Wright). First Mrs. Peters tries to put it in her bag (Hooray for her) and because she was not able to do so Mrs. Hale puts it in her pocket (thus it will never be found again).

 


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