Men And Women In Susan Glaspell's Trifles

1259 Words 6 Pages
Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artists explored the ways in which men renegotiated their relationship with women in response to women’s demand for greater equality. Caillebotte’s two paintings -- Interior and Young Man at His Window—suggest that men responded by encouraging women’s return to their traditional gender roles. Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” present women who are fully men’s intellectual equals, but it suggests that only their solidarity would ensure justice in a men’s world. Lastly, T.S. Eliot depicts women in a demeaning light. He describes his female characters as an unambitious and uncommunicative tool at the disposal of men. Eliot attempts to discourage women’s equality. As the relationship between men and women …show more content…
“Trifles” has “action, character, and dialogue that are accurate depictions of life outside of theatre”, (Lecture, 4/8). Glaspell presents and communicates her displeasure of the physical separation and inequality between the sexes. As a result, she presents women as full intellectual equals to men. In turn, the men mock the women. Contrarily, the men think the women belong in the kitchen, they don’t believe a woman could be capable of murder, and they joke with the women saying “women are used to worrying over trifles”, (Glaspell, 3). Due to these misjudgments, the men dismiss women’s intellectual ability and search for clues in the wrong places. That is ironic considering the women, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, solve the murder mystery case. This communicates the main point Glaspell attempts to make. She proves that women are intellectual equals of men. The women’s intelligence and solidarity appears multiple times throughout the play. Not only do they solve the murder, but also they find the dead bird and the broken birdcage together. As a duo, they solve the mystery by paying close attention to detail. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale stick together and endure the men’s mockery as the stage notes denote multiple times: “The women draw nearer” (Glaspell, 2), “The two women move a little closer together” (Glaspell, 3), and “Mrs. Hale glances in a quick covert way at Mrs. Peters” (Glaspell, 7). The close …show more content…
Eliot takes it a step further. Eliot demeans women through multiple examples of female characters in “Wasteland”. The readers are introduced to a post World War I society where “the rise of socialism and trench warfare led to the senseless slaughter of human beings” (Lecture, 4/11). Eliot writes because he believes there is a lack of culture, meaning, myth, religion, and orientation. He hopes that Europe can return to the way it used to be and women can return to their traditional gender role. A few of the traditional female duties Eliot discusses include: bearing children, pleasing their husbands, and falling in love. “Wasteland” and other modernist literature demonstrate how sexuality lost its sense of love and romance. Eliot blames this loss on women. In the first example, Eliot introduces the Hyacinth girl. Lines 70 and 71 of “Wasteland” allude to fertility, one of the few things Eliot believes women are good for. In the Hyacinthus myth, the Hyacinth girl cannot produce offspring. Eliot uses this example to demean women communicating that child bearing is all they are good for. Another way Eliot demeans women is by stating that they have to please their husbands. The story of the two women at the bar discusses this topic. The woman has done multiple things strictly for the sake of her husband. She gets false teeth; despite the fact she is only 31 years old. Additionally, this woman has had five children or five abortions.

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