Trifles By Susan Glaspell Essay

1645 words - 7 pages

Susan Glaspell’s most memorable one-act play, Trifles (1916) was based on murder trial case that happened in the 1900’s. Glaspell worked as a reporter, where she appointed a report of a murder case. It was about a farmer, John Hossack who was killed while he was asleep in bed one night. His wife claimed that she was asleep next to him when the attack occurred. No one believed in her statement, she was arrested and was charged on first degree murder.
In Trifles, the play takes place at an abandon house at a farm where John Wright and his wife, Minnie Wright lived. John was killed with a rope around his neck while his wife was asleep. The neighbor, county attorney and sheriff came to the crime scene for investigation. Along with them came their wives, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters; they were told to grab some belongings for Mrs. Wright that she may need while she’s in custody. Once they all entered the home the men dismissed the kitchen finding it as unimportant. The three men focused more on legal regulations of the law. The play was mostly revolved around the women, discovering the motive through “trifles” and other symbolic things that had significance to Minnie’s guilt. When Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters understood the reason behind the murdering they hid the evidence from their husbands, and kept quiet. Many readers would visualize this play as a feminist point of view due to women’s bonding in discovering Minnie’s oppressive life after marriage. However Glaspell, provokes two ethical paradigms that have different perspectives of justice. Glaspell uses symbolism to characterize women’s method in a subjective way, by empowering themselves through silence, memories of her and their own lives as well as having empathy about her situation. Whereas, men procured an objective approach of finding justice, through insensitivity and linearity.
The women empower themselves through silence, particularly in the kitchen communicating and reflecting upon things around them in the limited space they were given. The men dismiss the kitchen finding nothing that is relevant to the murder case. The men keep crisscrossing through the kitchen, ignoring and not realizing they could find the vital evidence through trivial details. Even though they were having difficulty in finding clues that lead to the murder. While the women were alone looking through Minnie’s kitchen they found the most valuable evidence the “missing piece to men’s puzzle” (Holstein 283). Mrs. Hale found the dead bird strangled in the sewing box telling “Mrs. Peters-look at it! Its neck! Look at its neck!” (782). Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters recognize the bird was strangled brutally “their eyes meet. A look of growing comprehension, of horror” (Glaspell 782). Both of them realized the bird was killed the same way as Mr. Wright with the rope around their neck. The strangled bird represents Minnie Foster how her freedom and joy was strangled to death. When the men came in the kitchen, the county...

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