Insanity In Trifles

Words: 1011
Pages: 5

In both Trifles by Susan Glaspell and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, we are introduced to two women who are in different marriages. One of the marriages is rather harsh and aggressive, while the other appears to be full of mutual love and gentleness. However, because these women are being silenced by their emotionally abusive husbands, both- despite different circumstances, end up in a descent into madness. In an article written by Rula Quawas, it is succinctly proposed that “insanity as a form of rebellion, a crucial point toward independence and liberation” (Quawas). This suggests that both Minnie Foster Wright and the unidentified woman from “The Yellow Wallpaper” took their refuge in insanity in order to free themselves …show more content…
Insanity by definition is a form of extreme irrationality, however, perhaps in this sense it might just possibly be “the emergence of a state of mind far saner than that understood by the normal world” (Quawas). This suggests that these two women escaped from somewhere that had trapped them for so long, and now they finally can be free. In Trifles, Minnie Foster Wright kills her husband due to multiple reasons—the killing of her pet canary being most notable. When Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find what Minnie had been quilting before she had been prosecuted, and noticed that the stitching of the pattern was not only “all over the place” (Trifles 1161), but it was also knotted instead of simply just sewing the fabric onto the backing. At the end of the drama, both the sheriff and the county attorney ask Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters if Minnie was going to “quilt it or knot it” (Trifles 1163), and respond to their question with, “We think she was going to—knot it” (Trifles 1163). This suggests that since he had wrung the bird’s neck, Minnie in return wrung his neck, and she “knotted” the rope (Strain). Comparatively, in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the narrator’s husband continuously brushes off her suggestions and warnings that she is only worsening, and in turn, being stuck in that room with the “horrid paper” (Gilman 528), she plummets into madness. She mentions that the front pattern of the wall moves (Gilman 534), and that the woman that is trapped “behind the pattern” is shaking it (Gilman 534). In the last few sentences of the story, the narrator says, “‘I’ve got out at last,’ said I, ‘in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!’” (Gilman 537) This alludes to the fact that the mysterious woman that lives within the wallpaper is the narrator; confined and imprisoned within the pattern, just as