"Behind the Scenes" of Trifles Essay

Submitted By kn2016
Words: 1091
Pages: 5

Kevin Newton
English 219
8 October 2014
Weekly Response #7 “I could’ve come. I stayed away because it weren’t cheerful- and that’s why I ought to have come.” (p. such and such). In Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles, different perspectives are represented based upon a highly serious situation that involves a wife murdering her husband. Both men and women are present at the scene of the crime
Throughout Trifles, the audience is given many examples of the domestic issue of gender inequality during the time period. Glaspell purposely drives the plot based on the characters’ prospective on demographics. The male characters of the play have a condescending attitude toward the female characters, dismissing women as mere housekeepers, instead of equals. The last two lines in the play represent the theme best by the question the County Attorney poses for the two housewives in the kitchen, when referring to quilting: “She was going to- what is it you call it ladies?” (p. 905). Mrs. Hale responds to this question with: “We call it- knot it, Mr. Henderson.” (p. 905). The quilting line is significant because it serves as the foundation or backbone in the representation of the metaphorical sense of women’s roles in a culture that gives these individuals fewer rights than men. The way that Mr. Henderson relies on Mrs. Hale to know this question portrays the expectation of women staying in their own “little world” with chores, such as taking care of children, cooking, cleaning, and knitting. http://www.questia.com/read/1G1-100736812/silent-justice-in-a-different-key-glaspell-s-trifles The adaptations of these gender roles in this play seemed to take a major toll on Mrs. Wright; therefore, the motive or basis that Mrs. Wright killed Mr. Wright seems logical through the symbolism of the bird. A simple canary in Trifles can represent the character of Mrs. Wright in a “before image”, rather than an “after image.” One line that backs this up in the play is: “There was a man around last year selling canaries cheap, but I don’t know as she took one; maybe she did. She used to sing real pretty herself.”(p. such and such). This line presents the audience with the idea that Mrs. Wright did not sing anymore; an underlying statement that serves a more powerfully empathetic one for a changed woman. To me, the line shifts the play from a masculine, oppressively impressionistic approach to a lighter, humility side of things. The audience begins to feel the emotional backside interwoven into the basis of the storyline.
Another line from Trifles that can represent the comparison the ladies made between Mrs. Wright and the bird: “She- come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself- real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and- fluttery.” (p. such and such). The comment again recognizes the before and after image of Mrs. Wright, how she was happy and cheerful at one point; however, that changed over the years with the isolation ever so prevalent. Mrs. Wright’s life indeed symbolizes the painful, irritable death that the unfortunate bird faced; the bird’s death was a breaking point. My interpretation of the bird’s presence in the play is that Mrs. Wright kept it for the happiness she once felt long ago. The bird may have kept her sane, the one living thing in her life that may have been there for her; however, the loss of her companion sent her over the edge.

However, I thought that the way that Glaspell portrayed the women in the play was clever. She made Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale to be the “underdog” heroes of the play, as their domestic skills come in handy while finding the all too important clues left by Mrs. Wright. Only women would have known about the incorrect stitching on the quilt pattern, and discovered the bird had been killed. Also, the writer made Mrs. Wright seem less like a blood- thirsty criminal, and more of a human making a simple mistake. This concept gave the audience a reason to sympathize with Mrs.