Trifles: Symbol and Mrs. Hale

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Essay on Susan Glaspell's “Trifles“
How does Susan Glaspell show and criticize women’s status of that time in “Trifles”.

“Trifles” is a very significant play that criticizes the society of America in the 19th and 20th century. The main topic is the relation of the society towards women. Susan Glaspell uses a lot of symbols to emphasize the critique of this relation. In this essay I will focus on the kitchen and on the bird. I find these symbols to be very important for the understanding of Minni Wright. Already in the description of the first scene the narrator points out that the farmhouse belongs to John Wright and not to the family Wright. Not only in the description Mrs. Wright is missing. She has no word in the play itself. This shows that women had no property and no power in this society. But there is already a critique on her way of house keeping. The narrator pictures the disordered kitchen in a very detailed way. This shows how important at that time it was, that the woman of the house is responsible for the household and has to do it properly. In the description of the first scene there is already so much information about the roles of men and women. The women of the scene Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are standing next to the door which is a symbol for not taking part in the discussion. Also they stand close together. This is a hint that they protect each other or are scared of something. The major part of the play both women are looking for things to take for the sheriff and the county attorney. They find out more about the reasons for the murder of her husband and about her life than the men. The men don’t even take the women seriously when they try to focus on details that are important. The kitchen is also a contradictive symbol. On one hand the men are criticizing how messy the kitchen is and a woman should manage to take care of the kitchen properly. On the other hand they wonder that Minni took care about “trifles” in the kitchen. For example...
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