Symbolism In Trifles

1373 Words 6 Pages
Register to read the introduction… "Women's Work—Trifles? The Skill and Insights of Playwright Susan Glaspell." International Journal of Women's Studies 5 (March 1982): 172-84.

Beverly Smith points out that the same aspects of life which the male characters in Trifles see as ordinary and insignificant are in truth vital parts of the female experience shared by the female characters. She also discusses the symbolisms that Glaspell uses throughout the play an how their meanings relate to the crime. Another important topic that Smith explains is how the women seem less acquainted and never call each other by their first names but as soon as the men make disparaging remarks about Minnie's housekeeping and women 'worrying over triffles' the women come closer together and unite. The most important pieces that I took from this study was the way Smith described some of the most important symbols in the play. The bond between the women is like a knot just like the knot tied around Mr. Wrights neck when he was strangled and also how the women will 'knot' tell even through they solved the murder. This theme of the knot is crucial to the plot of the play. The other helpful explaination was of the preservative jars. I thought of the obvious symbolism behind it but Smith discusses how there is one jar left like the remaining secret of the motive. The specific pages I listed for this work were definitely the most
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"'Murder, She Wrote': The Genesis of Susan Glaspell's Trifles." Theatre Journal, 44 (March 1992): 141-62.

Linda Ben-Zvi takes on a different approach to Glaspell's play. She asserts that Trifles is less a comment on standard gender disparities than on assigned gender roles. Suggesting that "their common erasure" provides the incentive for women's actions, not "women's natures," she believes the question of guilt or innocence are irrelevant. She focuses more on Minnie's cruelties rather than seeing her as a victim.

I felt differently about the play than Ben-Zvi did for certain topics so it wasn't much help for writing my paper, but I think that hearing an opinion from the opposite side did have an impact on my thoughts. However, I did find some of her findings interesting. I thought that the last name Wright was kind of ironic when I first read the play. Ben-Zvi pointed out the pun intended because Minnie had a lack of rights and implying her right to free herself against her husbands control that society believes he has a right to do. She also discussed the pun of the preservatives that they exploded from the cold as a reminder of the relationship between isolation and violence. This part of the article was insightful for me to read and even though I had a hard time understanding some of the points Ben-Zvi was
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Mael feels that the play's "moral dilemma" highlights the innate differences between male adherence to principles of morality and female empathetic ethical sense which considers moral problems as problems of responsibility in relationship. She comments that Glaspell uses abstract rules and rights and that ethical solidarity comes only after Mrs. Peters moves from a typically male to a more typically female mode of judgment. This switch allows them to formulate a redefinition of the

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