top-rated free essay

Trifles Feminist Drama

By Ligia-Reis Nov 23, 2014 546 Words
Feminist drama
Trifles is seen as an example of early feminist drama, because it is two female characters', Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale's, ability to sympathize with the victim's wife, Minnie, and so understand her motives, that leads them to the evidence against her, while the men are blinded by their cold, emotionless investigation of material facts. The female characters find the body of a canary, which had its neck wrung, killed in the same way as the deceased (John Wright), thus leading them to the conclusion that Minnie was the murderer, and they appear to empathize with her situation. Clearly, the wife is symbolized by the caged bird, a common symbol of women's roles in society. The plot concludes with the two women hiding the evidence against Minnie. The male characters are prejudiced in believing that nothing important can be discovered in areas of the house where Minnie spent most of her time. Their minds are clouded by prejudice and they disregard important clues as being mere "trifles" that women concern themselves with, searching the barn and the bedroom, places where men have dominance, rather than the kitchen, the only place where a woman would be in charge. One important line, spoken by the sheriff, says of the kitchen "Nothing here but kitchen things." This dismissal of the importance of the woman's life and the male reluctance to enter the "woman's sphere" is key in the men's failure to discover the crucial evidence for the case. The most important evidence, the dead canary that the two women find, was hidden in Minnie's sewing basket. The men scorn the domestic sphere, even kicking some of the items in contempt. The two women, having pieced together the murder, face the moral dilemma of telling the men about the motive or protecting Minnie, whom they see as a victim. Their choice raises questions about solidarity among women, the meaning of justice, and the role of women in society as a source of justice. Symbolism

As the women note, Minnie used to sing before she married John Wright. Martha theorizes that after Minnie's marriage, she was prevented from singing, or doing anything else which would have yielded her pleasure, by her husband. Minnie's plight is represented by Martha as a spiritual death, symbolized in the strangling of her songbird companion. Another point worth noting is that both Martha and Mrs. Peters express guilt over not having visited Minnie more often—a reading which opens up the possibility that Martha's reading of the evidence is skewed by her own feelings that she should have helped Minnie. Minnie is embodied in her kitchen and sewing things. The cold weather freezes and breaks her preserve jars, symbolizing the cold environment of her home breaking her spirit, as well as the coldness which causes the characters to fail in human empathy towards each other. The bare kitchen can be seen as symbol of the lives of the former inhabitants. The male characters are clear symbols of "law" and cold rationality, while the women display an intuitiveness representative of the psychoanalytic movement, evoking an interrogation of the value of superficial rational thought. Mrs. Wright also acts as the "invisible" heroine for women's rights as the play was written and set during the suffragette movement.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Feminist Symbolism in Glaspell's "Trifles"

    ...Feminist Symbolism in Susan Glaspell's "Trifles" Have you ever wondered; just how much can one person take from another? What amount of cruelty and abuse persuades the fury in a typically passive person to leap into aggressive action? Susan Glaspell's play Trifles shows us just how far one woman, Mrs. Wright, is pushed before she snaps. Th...

    Read More
  • Drama Essay Example "Trifles"

    ...Angel Parrett Professor Muller English 106/ Drama Essay 15 May 2006 Drama Essay Trifles Trifles, Susan Glaspell’s play written in 1916, reveal concerns of women living in a male dominated society. Glaspell communicates the role that women were expected to play in late 19th century society and the harm that can come of it to women, as...

    Read More
  • Trifles

    ...Shantifiney Franklin English 102 October 19, 2009 Critical Essay of Trifles Susan Glaspell Susan Glaspell was born on July 1, 1882 in Davenport, Iowa. She began her career as am author of short stories of popular magazines such as the Des Moines Daily. She cofounded Provincetown Players, a group who worked with experimental drama. Glaspe...

    Read More
  • Trifles

    ...Review of “Trifles” Susan Glaspell play, “Trifles”, revolves around Mrs. Wright, a woman who seeks revenge on her husband for oppressing her through their years of marriage. During the time of Glaspell’s play, early 1900’s, men are the dominant figures in society and women are expected to cook, clean, raise children and care for th...

    Read More
  • Trifles

    ...Franklin Written Comp. Chris Bailey 4 April 2014 In the play “Trifles”, the police are investigating the scene. Lewis Hale tells how he discovered Mrs. Wright was acting weird when she told him that her husband was murdered while she was sleeping. Although a gun had been in the house, Mrs. Wright had been strangled with a rope. While the ...

    Read More
  • Trifles

    ...is that Mr. Hale is the one that discover the body with her wife and explained to Mr. Henderson ( county attorney) and Mr. Peter (sheriff). They are all men from the XIX century and share the same mentality toward the intellect of women. They make fun, disregard and didn't pay attention to Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale comments without knowing that...

    Read More
  • Susa Trifles Feminist Analysis

    ...social status. Their situation has not been improved until the mid 19th century, where a several brave, outspoken women sparked the fight for social reform, justice, prostitution, and slavery. The force of Feminist then rose to fight for the equality for the oppressed. Susan Glaspell, who was born in that era of the early twentieth century, has...

    Read More
  • Trifles

    ...Trifles Trifles is a play by Susan Glaspell that covers the lives of several women and the men in their lives. The story begins with the murder of one of their neighbors, Mr. Wright, who is suspected to have been killed by his wife. The local Sherriff, Peters, enlists the help of his friend Mr. Hale to investigate the crime. Their wives are will...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.