In Susan Glaspells Trifles English Literature Essay

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In Susan Glaspells trifles the women in the play are considered the trifles by the men. The men treat the women as if they are worth nothing, of no value. Susan writes about a woman who has hung her husband in spite for the murder of her beloved canary. On a cold day three men and two women enter a house where a murderer scene has occurred. Of the two men one is a sheriff and one is a county attorney, the third man is the one who discovered the dead body of Mr. Wright. Of the two women that entered the home, one is the wife of the witness who discovered the body and the other is the wife of the sheriff. Through the men's exchanged dialogue one becomes aware that the husband of Minnie Wright has been strangled and that he was hung in his sleep. They believe that his wife is the prime suspect without any question and with no evidence. The county attorney insults Mrs. Wrights housekeeping skills and his attitude towards the women is very condescending, rude and dismissive. The men in the play believe that they are the brains of the operation and that the women are of no use but it is the women who not only figure out who committed the crime but why it was committed in the first place. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters solve the murder while the men are left wondering. The men feel as if they are superior and the women can feel this airs about them which push them to bond and unite together. The men are unable to find any evidence or cause through their investigation of the house. The women had come to the conclusion that Minnie Wright had killed her husband by strangulation because this is the same death that Mr. Wright had inflicted on her beloved canary. Mrs. Hal and Mrs. Peters were well aware of the women that Minnie used to be and how Mr. Wright's treatment had changed her. The women decided to hide the evidence, in the need to protect Minnie from any more injustice. They feel that she has already suffered enough through her life with Mr. Wright. They felt that they needed to protect her from the cold callous men who blamed her for the unhappy home, due to her poor housekeeping skills.

In this play it was the men who were in deed the trifles rather than the women. The men proved to be of no use in the case. It was the women who were silently superior in their ability to solve the crime so quickly and effortlessly. They simply did this by paying attention to the clues that were right there in front of them. I felt that the intended message of the play was, to teach others to be more open and not to be close minded to all the possibilities that others may have to offer. An individual shouldn't be judged based on their differences like race or gender but rather those differences should be welcomed and appreciated. I think Glaspell's intended to show why People shouldn't make snap decisions but should take a minute to evaluate the entire picture. Susan Glaspell's TRIFLES used symbolism to get these messages across. She used symbolism to hint at the motive for the murder, which the women were able to figure out. I felt that they decided to keep it a secret as an act of loyalty to their fellow women, Mrs. Wright.

Another example of this symbolism used, was when it was stated, that Mrs. Wright would "knot" rather than quilt the patchwork. Also Towards the end of the play the county attorney says "Well, Henry, at least we found out that she was not going to quilt it. She was going to what you call it, ladies? (Glaspell) Mrs. Hale replied "We call it -knot it, Mr. Henderson" (Glaspell). The women were very aware that Minnie Wright killed her husband by choking him but they decided they weren't going to share this information. She also uses symbolism when it's stated that the bond between women is an essential "knot", this statement just furthers the argument that they weren't going to tell because of the bond they shared as fellow women.

Glaspell also uses symbolism with the use of the dead canary and bird cage. While the women are gathering Mrs. Wright's things they discover a broken, empty bird cage. Later while going through her things, the women discover a dead canary wrapped in silk with a broken neck. Since, Mrs. Wright didn't have any children the canary was here only sense of life and purpose in her unhappy home. When Mr. Wright killed her bird Minnie believed that he was killing her since in a sense she was his bird trapped in a cage. The women came to realize the reason for his murder; it was because he had killed Minnie through murdering her bird. His death was the only repayment that could justify the canary's death. The women could empathize with Minnie since they believed that it was Mr. Wright who was indeed the murderer. They felt this way because the y felt it was he who had killed his wife through the death of her bird. They could understand how Mrs. Wright could no longer handle her sad lonely existence and had had enough after the death of her only friend. It was through this womanly bond that they were able to truly understand her motives for his death. Glaspell used symbolism to portray this unseen bond between women, a bond that she believes that we all share. She used symbols that would only make sense. She used symbols that could only connect to a woman. She used symbols that only a woman could relate with. It was the men's failure to open their eyes and pay attention to the small details that was their ultimate failure. Glaspell did this to show how women and men see the world through different lenses.

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