Gender inequality comes in different aspects in which it is prevalent in today’s society, just as it was displayed in the early 1900s, and seen in Trifles the remake of a real life murder mystery. Women have fought for equal rights as early as the 1800s, during this time the role of women was blatant in every home to be seen but not heard, to finish daily chores such as cleaning, cooking, sewing, and motherhood also to make sure dinner is prepared by the time their husbands get home. Society wants us to believe that men and women are treated equally, however, that’s not the case. Society feels as though a woman’s place is to be confined in the house doing domestics. In the 1900s, men didn’t perform household chores, they were to provide for their families and this was specified by the males aspects in the play. In Susan Glaspell Trifles she successfully delineates how rebellion can affect a person’s future through the characters, conflicts and their actions. The importance of these elements are valuable because they draw attention to the social conduct, lore and upbringing and their similarities between the 1900s and today’s society. In addition, it is of the utmost importance’s to understand how these literary devices have been used in the play to better understand the significance of the meaning of the play.
Through the course of time, women have conquered some insulting and invasive times in society, to be listened too and perceived as equal to mankind. The women wanted to be equal to the men instead of being subservient to them. Trifles was set in Mrs. Wright’s home in her kitchen. In the start of the play the men disregarded the kitchen as if none important things weren’t of existence in the kitchen. This opened the door for women to voice their opinions for women’s rights. However, the overbearing detectives fail to notice the trifling clues that the women discover that point to the murderer. George Henderson is the obnoxious County Attorney who is discriminatory towards the women and interrogates Mr. Hell about everything he knows about the immortal act that occurred to John Wright. Let’s talk about Henry Peters he is the sheriff of the town and the husband of Mrs. Peters he is critical and bias about the women’s views and opinions of how the women should not worry about the investigation and only worry about sticking to what women know best such as the patterns in stitching of a quilt. “ Nothing here but kitchen things” replied the sheriff as he made fun of Mrs. Wright “held for murder and worrying about her preserves” (Glaspell 3).
The wife of the sheriff Mrs. Peters is more cowardly than Mrs. Hale. But she is more familiar with of the obligations the women have to the precepts also to their husbands when they reveal the truth of Mrs. Wright’s murder of her husband. Nonetheless, she is reluctant to reveal the evidence to the men. She guides Mrs. Peters in the choice to hide the evidence from the men. Mrs. Hale is the neighbor of the Wright’s and also the wife of Lewis Hale. She is tormented by regret of not having visited Minnie Wright more often to aid her through the struggles of living with her unpleasant husband. Minnie Wright is the wife of the murdered John Wright and also his killer. Mrs. Wright was known for her vigorous immaculateness and good spirit before she was married. She sings merrily in the choir. On the other hand she became spiritless unhappy and isolated. Minnie strangled and killed her husband in revenge for his ultimate cold-bloodedness of killing her beloved pet bird the only thing that provide joy and companionship to her in the forlornness of her home and the man controlled society that isolated all women including herself. John Wright was the character that bit the dust, he had been asphyxiated to death in his farmhouse. Of all people, they main suspect of the horrific crime is his wife. He was known as a rough man, he was also deemed not to be good camaraderie. That made the women in the community wonder about the seclusion of Mrs. Wright’s life as his wife.
The men are looking for little pieces of evidence but they don’t realize trifles connect to valuable importance to get to the bottom of the case. Overall, the men exercised control and didn’t have respect for their wives. As soon as the women scraped together the dead giveaways and solve the mystery of Mr. Wright’s death, they immediately come to an arrangement to withhold the information from the men who are investigating the murder of Mr. Wright. In the start of the play the men disregarded the kitchen as if none important things weren’t of existence in the kitchen. “Nothing here but kitchen things”, replied the sheriff as he made fun of Mrs. Wright “held for murder and worrying about her preserves” (Glaspell 3). It is revealed that everything that goes on in the kitchen is unimportant to the men, hence that the men don’t want anything to do with the kitchen. The setting of the play conveys that the men and the women have a different concept about what took place at the Wright’s house. The men’s focal point is to look for a method and the women’s focal point is the motive. “Well , Mr. Hale tell just what happened when you came here yesterday morning” (Glaspell 1), the men query about what happened, the women on the other hand have individualized conclusions, for instance, Mrs. Hale stated “she said she wanted an apron. Funny thing to want” (Glaspell 5). The women as opposed to the men are able to produce the thoughts of Mrs. Wright and are capable of bringing to light what actually happened. The men are looking for little pieces of evidence but they don’t realize trifles connect to valuable importance to get to the bottom of the case. Society feels as though a woman’s place is to be confined in the house doing domestics. As reported by the researcher, a social product, gender identity is a complex function of social norms, traditions, and axioms, which is conducted in light of local historical and cultural backgrounds (Charatsari)
Let’s refer to the kitchen as an example, the county attorney is confused because the kitchen is untidy, there were some dirty dishes in the sink, the bread was left out sitting on the counter. Therefore, the men speculate that Mrs. Wright was not a clean person, in that time period society expected a woman to tidy the house be jolly and fancy. The county attorney in Trifles stated “it’s not cheerful. I shouldn’t say she had the home making instinct” (Glaspell 4). Here we can speculate, just because the county attorney has visited the Wright’s house at a time when it was not tidy does not necessarily mean that Mrs. Wright was definitely a dirty person. During this time period men thought that women should only be in the house this was a prime example, how the attorney thought the house should have looked clean, inviting, and organized so that it presented a welcoming and happy feeling. This is an indication of how arduous a woman’s life was, always working and no time for herself. As shown in the beginning of play the woman are the ones that gather the things Mrs. Wright asked for this was an action as if that was where the women belonged. Not once, did the men investigate the kitchen to try to find evidence so that was a clue the men thought that the kitchen was not important. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peter were able to find incriminating evidence in the kitchen in which they withheld from the men. During the duration of history, gender has always been stereotyped, in which boys have always been compare to girls from what they are to do from what they aren’t. Men have always been consider as the more dominant one and the woman are fragile and submissive.
By paying attention to detail the women analyze the bird cage and they are able to interpret that Mrs. Wright felt as though she was imprisoned in her marriage. The door on the bird’s cage is broken which the women though it was a representation that Mrs. Wright was able to escape her marriage. However, Mrs. Hale found the bird dead in a box, she then realized that it’s neck was broken meaning someone had killed it. According to the researchers “the ability to correctly interpret another’s nonverbal behaviors can be highly adventurous in making communication smoother” ( Gulabovska, Leeson 203), in which the women in Trifles were able to converse to each other without even saying a word as their eyes met, this was the way they signaled each other to keep this information to themselves and not tell the men. Hence, the women felt compassion for Mrs. Wright knowing that she gave her husband the same treatment that her husband gave to her companion, the canary. Therefore, the women understood that if the men saw the bird that Mrs. Wright would be convicted of murder. Mrs. Wright’s husband was also found dead with his neck broken just like the canary. Therefore if the men had seen the canary they would definitely know that Mrs. Wright had killed her husband.
Susan Glaspell is saying that women are ready to take control of their lives and not continued to be dominated by men. After the wives travel with their husbands to the crime scene and they have been shrugged off, as if they are foolish and unknowledgeable, but they reveal that they are more intelligent than the men because they discover the truth. Also she implied that women are more than just possessions to their husbands. Glaspell aimed to speak on behalf of the lives of simple rustic women who were ddowngradedand not respected and looked upon as possessions to their male ccounterparts She illustrated the lack of women’s rights and how they were in subjugated. She wanted women to know that they don’t just have to be isolated, if they stood together they can and are able to accomplish much more in life than just being a housewife. She wanted women to know even though one maybe a wife doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to achieve in life. As a women one can do anything just as good as a man there are many opportunities in the world and we as women don’t have to limit ourselves. Glaspell shed light that the sky is the limit and anything we put our minds to we can do better than a man. Men don’t think with their hearts like women and they think women only worry themselves with things that are unimportant.