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Major Themes of the Play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell Essay


The play, written in the early 20th century when the society was still male-dominated. They were the decision-makers in the family and in the political platform since women were still not allowed to vote and be represented in the political arena. Mrs. Wright is the symbol of the suffering the women went through as her duties were generally limited to the kitchen.

She tended to the farm and reared the family chicken with little support from her husband. In solving the murder mystery of Mr. Wright, two women, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, establish the true motive of the killing by looking at the clues they found in the house, which showed that Mrs. Wright was going through a tough time in the hands of her husband. Sheriff Peters and Attorney George Henderson assigned to the case, but they are the symbol of male dominance over women. They turn a blind eye to the revelations made by the women.

Thesis statement: Mr. Wright’s actions in Trifels are a true revelation of how cultural beliefs and identity influence a person’s behavior and show the wife’s condition in moments of love and hate.

Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale when in the kitchen gathering leads, they notice a little box, inside the box is a dead caged bird covered with a piece of cloth. The canary sang to Mrs. Wright, and it was the symbol of the wife’s desire for freedom and joy, which she longed for as she lived with the husband. Mr. Wright strangled the bird with a string.

The husband is the provider to the family; the items found in the kitchen by the two women during investigations were a stack revelation of the oppression Mrs. Wright faced in the house. They found stale fruit preserves and bread that had dried out of the box, the kitchen was also messy with no sign of recent cooking. This showed the inhuman treatment that Mrs. Wright went through despite the hard work that she did in the house. According to Glaspell, The attorney and the sheriff went ahead to blame Mrs. Wright for the mess that was in the kitchen.

SHERIFF. Well, can you beat the women! Held for murder and worryin’ about her preserves.

COUNTY ATTORNEY. I guess before we’re through she may have something more serious than preserves to worry about.

HALE. Well, women are used to worrying over trifles (1, 28-30).

The culture at the time depicted the men as important people in society, and their views were the grounds for establishing facts about the murder. The two women accepted this identity and decided to act on their own, they took the dead caged bird as evidence without informing the principal investigators to understand Mrs. Wright’s motive on the murder.

Mr. Wright crushed the happiness in her wife’s life; he made sure that she had no regular friends who visited over to see and empathize with the state that she was in. He restricted her moves outside the home so she could run away from the tribulations that she faced. Before Mrs. Wright married her husband, she had joy in her youth, and she loved to compose and hum tunes of her favorite songs. All these ended as she moved to her husband’s house.

Women have come a long way to the place they now command in the society in the present time. They had to help themselves get out of bondage by engaging in ‘silent’ activism to liberate the oppressed women in their families. The rise in advocacy and improvement in education have made them more aware of their strengths and have taken up political positions to defend their interests. However, the end is not achieved yet, with many still suffering silently in their family enclaves.

Works Cited

Glaspell, Susan. Trifels. Boston: Walter H. Baker, 2010. Print.

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"Major Themes of the Play "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell." IvyPanda, 19 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/major-themes-of-the-play-trifles-by-susan-glaspell/.

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IvyPanda. "Major Themes of the Play "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell." May 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/major-themes-of-the-play-trifles-by-susan-glaspell/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Major Themes of the Play "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell." May 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/major-themes-of-the-play-trifles-by-susan-glaspell/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Major Themes of the Play "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell'. 19 May.

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