8 Aug 2011
Characters in Susan Glaspell’s play Trifles separate along gender lines definitively in step with the social distinctions between men and women that were coming under fire by the 1920s. While this was likely a hot issue for audiences when the play was first performed, the developing subtext of gender issues is distanced from the conscious mind of participants through the vehicle of setting, which places events in the rural backcountry of the Midwest. This setting, in the house of one farmer’s wife, Mrs. Minnie Wright, nonetheless provides a spark that strongly kindles the cosmopolitan views recently ushered into mainstream culture by the passage of women’s suffrage into US law in 1919. The truth about male and female relationships really comes to life by author Susan Glaspell in “Trifles”. Glaspell examines male and female relationships, how controlling spouse, and lack of communication can lead to the deterioration in relationships, which inevitably leads to a woman seeking change in her life. Glaspell shows that some relationships are not warm and loving, but are dominated by a controlling spouse. Men.....can’t live with them, can’t live without them! Same can be said for women...can’t live with them, can’t live without them! Men have the distinct impression that they are smarter, stronger, and above all, think they are the superior gender between man and woman. Men have a tendency to think women are, weak, silly, and just downright inferior to men. Thus, a ‘knowing’ glance between men says much of the man’s attitude toward what a woman thinks or says. Yet, we see here in this play, it is a man, Sheriff Peters, that makes the first of many mistakes made by.. yes.....men. Right from the start, we see that a crime scene was not properly handled by Sheriff Peters, who claims he “had his hands full” when he sent deputy sheriff Frank out to...