Understanding Feminism in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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Melissa Prather
English 102
Research Paper
May 8th, 2012
Understanding Feminism in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles
Susan Glaspell lived during a time where women’s rights were not fully acknowledged. The oppression of women during this time stretched to the point that they were not truly acknowledged as their own person. They were to be seen and not heard so to speak. Their sole purpose was to take care of their families by keeping house and performing their caretaker duties. Glaspell even demonstrates in her story that the women in this town were referred to as someone’s wife and not as their own individual person. In her play titled Trifles, she shows that women are smarter than the men in their lives give them credit for. Glaspell uses her play to make a very strong feminist statement that women are more than just housewives, or homemakers, and that they are more intelligent than they are perceived.

Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters quickly show how observant they are while the men in the story brush off their behavior as trivial. Mrs. Hale is the wife of a farmer and Mrs. Peters is the sheriff’s wife. They have accompanied the men, who are the sheriff, a neighbor, and the county attorney, to Mr. and Mrs. Wright’s farmhouse after Mr. Wright was found murdered. While the men are scoping out the house looking for what they deem as evidence that Mrs. Wright murdered her husband, the ladies work at collecting some of Mrs. Wright’s belongings to take to her at the prison. The ladies unexpectedly find the evidence that their husbands and county workers are searching for and decide to hide it as they feel that the murder was justified. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters both find a quilt that Mrs. Wright was working on. Upon inspection of the quilt, they were able to conclude that something was terribly wrong with Mrs. Wright. They noticed that the quilting was erratic in the latest additions. As the men look over what they deem to be the insignificant troubles in...
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