Essay about Trifles by Susan Glaspell

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Trifles by Susan Glaspell

Susan Glaspell's Trifles explores male-female relationships through the murder investigation of the character of Mr. Wright. The play takes place in Wright's country farmhouse as the men of the play, the county attorney, the sheriff, and Mr. Hale, search for evidence as to the identity and, most importantly, the motive of the murderer. However, the men never find the clues that would lead them to solving this murder case. Instead, it is their female counterparts who discover the evidence needed, and who are able to do so because of their gender. The male investigators need to find, as Mrs. Peters puts it, "'a motive; something to show anger, or--sudden feeling'" (1329). Yet the men never see the
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Wright, a form of murder, which perplexes all when a gun was handy, is reminiscent of the strangling of that bird. It is another answer to the men's questions, but an answer they never find. The women, on the other hand, take note of all they see. They notice the bird, the cage, and the quilt but other things that the men call "trifles," like Minnie's frozen preserves and her request for her apron and shawl. These women are united; it seems, not only as country wives or as neighbors but also on the basic level of womanhood. This is apparent from the beginning of the play. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters "stand close together near the door," (1324) emotionally bonded throughout the play and, here, physically, in a way, too. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters also have a kinship to Minnie, just as to each other. They respect her work as a homemaker. Mrs. Hale quickly comes to Minnie's defense when her housekeeping skills are questioned, saying, "'There's a great deal of work to be done on a farm'" (1326). The women display their loyalty to each other and their sympathy for one another, too. Mrs. Peters can identify with the loneliness and sadness of losing something you love. She understands "'what stillness is,'" and Mrs. Hale knows "'how things can be--for women . . . [they] all go through the same things--it's just a different kind of the same thing'" (1333). These women are obviously united, and together they have a common enemy, as it were. The women’s foes, the

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