Women In Susan Glaspell's Play Trifles

992 Words4 Pages
In the late 1800s, when Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles, is set, women were not seen as equal to men. Gwendolyn L. Lewis, author of “Changes in Women’s Role Participation,” believes that women were only ever seen as an “unpaid laborer” (qtd in Baica). Lewis explains that women were expected to cook, clean and take care of the children. Susan Glaspell’s play Trifles, written in 1916, reflects this. The play illustrates a woman, Minnie Wright, who loses control of her emotions and strangles her husband in his sleep. The death of her husband mirrors her existence in their marriage. Minnie had been confined by her marriage for years and longed to be free. Trifles, by Susan Glaspell is a one act play that reveals the suppression of women in the late…show more content…
She proves that the men did not take the women seriously and she illustrates the men dismissing the women. There are many different definitions of the word trifle. One definition suggests that the men viewed the concerns of women to be mere trifles, “unimportant issues that bear little or no importance”(The Definition). Glaspell shows this when, the sheriff assures Henderson, “nothing here but kitchen things” (Trifles) when they are finishing up their investigation of the kitchen. He inadvertently classifies the kitchen, a woman 's place to work, as a place of minimal importance. Henderson then digs through the cabinet anyway and finds a messed up jar of fruit. He complained saying, “here 's a nice little mess” (Trifles). Mrs. Peters attempts to stand up for Minnie recalling how hard it was for her to maintain her own fruit, but her husband quickly explains, “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles” (Glaspell 610). This exemplifies that men do not take what the women say seriously, for they dismiss it as a mere trifle. Mr. Hale foolishly disbands the evidence found in the kitchen because he views the kitchen, a woman 's work place, as a place of minimal importance, even though some of the evidence found in the kitchen is pivotal to solving the case and discovering a motive. The dialogue between Mrs. Peters and Mr. Hale exemplifies the theme of Trifles: a mere…show more content…
Glaspell also uses the title to show that the men ironically rejected minor details as insignificant when in reality, they were the most significant. The word trifle can also be defined as “a detail that is considered insignificant”(Glaspell). Glaspell illustrates this through the county attorney 's disbanding of the women’s trifling over whether Minnie was going to knot or quilt her quilt. The Sheriff overhears the women talking and sarcastically pokes fun at the women by saying, "They wonder if she was going to quilt it or just knot it"(Glaspell)! He is astonished by how silly it was for the women to be focusing on a silly handmade quilt, but the women quickly analyze the quilt and discover another large piece of evidence. Mrs. Hale realizes that the quilt was impeccable until the very end, then it became sloppy. They conclude that “messy sewing is a sign of nervousness”(). The men though, laugh at the women 's chatter about the quilt, for they believe that the quilt is of no significance. In reality the quilt showed a motive. The quilt showed that Mrs. Wright must have been “disturbed”().. They noticed that the knot used to strangle Mr. Wright matched the knotting done on the quilt. The women noticed that trifle, but the men did not. They were too busy looking for significant evidence instead of studying all potential evidence. The county attorney foolishly dismissed these significant small details because he was too focused on the
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