Oppression in the Early 20th Century

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Feminism means the belief that women should be treated as equals to men. In the early 20th century, women faced adversity in the sense that it was a struggle living at that time because they had a specific role to live up to, and that role was being housewives to the men. The early 20th Century was a male dominated society. Glaspell uses character names, Irony in the title, and symbolism in the play, “Trifles” to reveal the roles in which women play, and the harm it brings to women and also men in the early 20th Century. In the play, there are two characters that are never seen, Mr. and Mrs. Wright. Mr. Wright plays off the social stereotype that women always seek for “Mr. Right”. Mr. Wright, “an Iowa farmer” (Leon Hilton, 147) has been found strangled in bed. Mrs. Wright, ”an antisocial wife” (Hilton, 147) is thought to be the murderer. Also, the women in the play, (Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters) never refer to Minnie Foster as Mrs. Wright. The role that society has cast them in is one that is defined by their husbands. Mrs. Peters, who is married to the sheriff, is viewed in those terms, not as an individual. The county attorney refers to her as "for that matter a sheriff's wife is married to the law" (Susan Glaspell, 29). Mrs. Peters ends up trying to fulfill the role the role by saying, “But Mrs. Hale, the law is the law”. She tries to reinforce the idea that she is married to the law until she realizes what Mr. Wright wrung the neck of the bird that Minnie was taking care of, due to the fact that they had no children and she did not want to feel alone. Glaspell focuses more on using character names to symbolize the change in personality between Minnie Foster and Mrs. Wright. Minnie Foster was known as the girl who “…used to wear pretty clothes and be lively” (Susan Glaspell, 14). Mrs. Hale describes Minnie Foster as a beautiful young girl. She says to Mrs. Hale,” I wish you'd seen Minnie Foster when she wore a white dress with blue ribbons and stood up there in...
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