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Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay


Contemporarily, people are equal regardless of their gender courtesy of the different constitutions across the world. This perception did not exist earlier, especially at the start of the 20th century and earlier centuries. In the past, the society was mainly male-dominated and women were treated with little importance.

For instance, the woman’s place was in the kitchen and she played the role of a good mother to her children while at the same time taking care of her husband. Literature materials published before late 20th century mainly deal with roles based on the gender of an individual.

The 19th century was characterized by the emergence of female literary figures and writers who wrote exemplary works on inequality on both sexes, while paying attention to women’s inability to be independent and their overreliance on men. Several female literal writers paved the way for other female writers in the 20th century. Susan Glaspell was one of the 20th century writers and she came up with literal works that addressed various issues in the society. One of the most outstanding literal works by Glaspell is Trifles.

In the play, Trifles, Glaspell shows a reflection of gender and sex roles bound on cultural notions with greater emphasis on women. Women were treated with lesser dignity as compared to men and to the society; they were of little or no importance, as they presumably contributed very little to important issues within the society. In her play, Trifles, Glaspell uses two parts of the play, one distinctive narrative on men and the other on women, in order to trigger the reader into evaluating the value of both genders to the society.

In this piece of literature, Glaspell not only demonstrates the role of women, but also depicts knowledge and valuation or devaluation of perspectives on women within various contexts. This paper aims at discussing conveyance of the feminist perspective as depicted in Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles. Trifles is a feminist play where feminism means the act of agitating for women rights by any means.

Glaspell goes into details to show how Mrs. Wright is an object of abuse to her husband and thus arouse sympathy from readers who would in turn support the feminism agenda of liberating women, which started in the late 19th Century. Mr. and Mrs. Wright, the two main characters in the play Trifles, bring out the challenges faced by women as at that time.

For instance, Mrs. Wright is subjected to mental suffering as a result of endless abuses from her husband, who also imposes quite a number of restrictions to her; hence, limited access to the outside world. The play presents men as uncouth creatures who never want peace in the house. Mrs. Wright spends a considerable amount of time in the kitchen, which is a symbolic representation of marriages where most women of the time spent a significant portion of their lives.

In addition, Glaspell incorporates five people in the play, two of whom are women, a symbolic representation of women as a minority. The timing of this play is not coincidental. Glaspell did not just choose to address women plight and probably suggest ways of how to overcome men dominance at a time when feminism was being rooted in the society. Glaspell simply embraced the opportunity presented by the writing space to propagate feminism because she could reach a wider audience via writing.

Mrs. Wright’s intentions to kill her husband depict women oppression by men in society. The play takes place in a cold gloomy house representing the cruelty of Mr. Wright who is adamant in his pursuits and thus a nuisance to those who do not like his way of life.

As the play begins, all characters enter the farmhouse, but women distance themselves from men, thus showing the rift that exists between the two sexes in the society. The two women in the play are aware of their disregard in the community, a fact that strengthens the bond between them.

Through this bond, they gain power that assists them to protect Mrs. Wright who is accused of trying to murder her husband. Through staying together, as illustrated in the play, women can achieve indomitable power. However, this power comes with the assumption that women live as individuals and it is only through bonding that they can gain power, strength, and success. Through this argument, Glaspell seeks to give women tips on how to overcome chauvinism and tame men through the power of staying together.

According to the play Trifles, in a society dominated by male chauvinism, women take advantage of their lack of recognition to destroy the power of law coupled with influencing and effecting justice. Within the play, power of women is illustrated indirectly; for instance, Glaspell uses bonding to show that women have a higher level of power than they know. In addition, once a woman gains access to knowledge, she implements the knowledge in making significant decisions in life. For instance, Mrs. Peter and Mrs.

Hanes research on ways to relieve Mrs. Wright of her abusive marriage, rather than paying attention to the violent and abusive moments she faces in the marriage. Instead of letting their emotions and sympathy dictate their course of action, they become proactive and come up with ways of freeing their friend for once and for all. Knowledge is also one of the ways that people can achieve power. Together with their bonding, women in the play use knowledge to come up with ways that see the murder case against Mrs. Wright dropped.

Women also tend to come together and form alliances since they are highly sidelined in the society. Clearly, by writing this play sometimes before August 1916 (when it premiered), Glaspell was simply promoting the feminism agenda, which was launched in the Seneca Falls Convention on July 19, 1848 where western women right’s champions met for the first time ever to push for equal rights.

Trifles is a feminist play as explored in this paper. Women live in gender discrimination in the society where males dominate and control almost all sectors of society. However, in a feministic move, Glaspell illustrates how women can come together to help one another and achieve power in unity.

For instance, Mrs. Peter and Mrs. Hanes form an indomitable force through which they manage to free Mrs. Wright from the claws of life imprisonment due to murder charges. Even though the play fails to call for entitlement of equal rights to men and women openly, from a critical point of view, it is agitating for the same rights. Therefore, Glaspell simply uses the writing space to promote feminism as shown in this feministic play.

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IvyPanda. (2018, December 20). Trifles by Susan Glaspell. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/trifles-by-susan-glaspell/

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"Trifles by Susan Glaspell." IvyPanda, 20 Dec. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/trifles-by-susan-glaspell/.

1. IvyPanda. "Trifles by Susan Glaspell." December 20, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/trifles-by-susan-glaspell/.


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IvyPanda. "Trifles by Susan Glaspell." December 20, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/trifles-by-susan-glaspell/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Trifles by Susan Glaspell." December 20, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/trifles-by-susan-glaspell/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Trifles by Susan Glaspell'. 20 December.

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