Symbols Of Emotional Abuse Essay

1089 words - 5 pages

Susan Glaspell’s one act play “Trifles” is based on an actual murder court trial that she remembered covering from her days as a newspaper reporter in Iowa. She wrote at a time when women were supposed to be submissive to men and especially to their husbands. This play takes a look at a common social problem during the early 1900s when Americans wanted to keep all of their relationship problems private. Many married couples would do anything to keep their lives free from scandal, and this murder mystery examines the necessity of appearances and reputation of having the perfect marriage that was typical during that time. This was done to protect the married couple from being scorned by ...view middle of the document...

Numerous symbols throughout this play help the readers to obtain a better understanding of the emotional abuse that Minnie Wright endured as a victim of her husband.
The title of the play is in itself a symbol of suppressed women. While the men look for evidence in the house, their wives also explore the house where they discover clues that the men have made fun of and have dismissed as “trifles.” Mr. Henderson, the county attorney, upon entering the house is amazed by the deficiency lack of cleanliness in the Wrights’ house, and he thinks this is due to the Mrs. Wright’s lack of poor housewife skills. “Here's a nice mess,” he said resentfully…”Dirty towels! Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies?” He [Mr. Henderson] kicked his foot against some dirty pans under the sink’ (604). The unfinished housework symbolizes the deep depression that she Minnie felt. Minnie, like many women who are victims of abuse, may have experienced an emotional crisis. According to the article, “How to help in an Emotional Crisis,” one of the signs of emotional crisis is a decline in performance at work or school. In the early twentieth century, in the historical and social context in which the play takes place, women were relegated to the domestic sphere which was considered their only job and responsibility. There was an inequality of the sexes and the inability of women to live their own lives without relying on men. Women were good for cooking, cleaning, bearing children, and taking care of their husband. They were not permitted to work outside of the house. Even the last name Wright, as selected by Susan Glaspell, the author, is a double meaning telling us about the lack of rights that the women had during this era. In the case of Minnie, her performance in her work as a housewife would suffer because of her unhappiness with her husband. The jars of cherries were also representative in Mrs. Wright's life. Isolated on the farm and the hopelessness of her life finally caused her to break like the jars of cherries. The one unbroken jar symbolizes the one thing left intact and that was her secret about the death of...

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