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Distinct Understanding On Trifles By Susan Glaspell

2456 words - 10 pages

Susan Glaspell writes Trifles based on a real life murder and introduces the contemporary feminist concerns of identity and the necessity for female support and understanding. In the story, the county attorney, the sheriff and a neighboring farmer go to the isolated, abandoned farmhouse to investigate John Wright’s murder, while the wives of the sheriff and the farmer go along to get some personal belongings for Minnie, who is now in the jail. John Wright is strangled in his bed and his wife, Minnie is the major suspect as she does not wake up when the crime happens. The three men start the search for the clues to a possible motive for the murder with a bumptiously arranged and perfect plan. They laugh at the women’s care on the trifles, which is actually the key point of the crime case. Ultimately, the women find out the truth of the case that the men do not, and decide to hide the evidence as they empathize with the life that Minnie has been living. Trifles by Susan Glaspell features the divergence of principles on judgment between female and male, and highlights the difference in gender and behavior. Mrs. Peter and Mrs. Hale’s empathy, protection for women, and perception of judgment and ethics turn the ending of the play around.
In the play, Glaspell shows the oppression of women in marriage with the character of Minnie. Mrs. Hale says that Minnie “used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir” (Glaspell 188-190). The conflict occurs when Mrs. Hales describes Mr. Wright as “a hard man” (Glaspell 311) and says “just to pass the time of day with him – (Shivers.) Like a raw wind that gets to the bone” (Glaspell 311-312). Other than that, Mrs. Hale has not been visiting Mrs. Wright as she feels the house “weren’t cheerful” (Glaspell 297). From what has been mentioned, it tells how unhappy Minnie is in her marriage. In the twentieth century, women’s role are reproductive, taking care of husband and children, cooking, and doing household chores. “We all go through the same things – it’s all just a different kind of the same thing” (Glaspell 400-401). Mrs. Peter and Mrs. Hale are greatly sympathetic to Minnie as they live the similar life and understand the feeling of being oppressed. Mrs. Hale also experiences deep guilty for not showing enough solicitude toward Minnie.
Minnie loves singing but she stops singing after marrying with Wright. To make up her loneliness, she gets a canary which sings for her. However, “Wright wouldn’t like the bird – a thing that sang. She used to song. He killed that, too” (Glaspell 373-374). Both Minnie and the bird are being deprived of the right to sing. As a revenge, Minnie chokes her husband’s life out of him by slipping a rope around his neck when he sleeps, just as the way her husband kills the bird. Out of empathy, Mrs. Peter, who was suffering with the loss of her first baby and her kitten, can stand in Minnie’s shoes – shares the same...

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