Just Kitchen Things: Males and Females in Trifles Essay

Submitted By angieluau
Words: 735
Pages: 3

Just Kitchen Things The plot of Susan Glaspell's drama Trifles is greatly driven by the male characters' pompous aura of self-importance and general superiority over the female characters. This attitude, which dominates the entire play, is made apparent through many of the men's disparaging comments and behaviors towards the women, as well as through how the women react. The men in this play the county attorney, the sheriff, and Mr. Hale all occupy an attitude that clearly divides men and women into two separate, distinct roles. A man is someone who is serious, tough, powerful, and whose time is consumed by very important matters, as opposed to trivialities. The men all strive to conform to this encompassing image, which they are convinced defines manhood and gains them respect. A woman, on the other hand, is dependent, fragile, and incompetent. Their entire purpose in life is to be a housewife; simply the counterpart of a dominant male figure, and nothing more. The female identity itself is based on a woman's relation to a man, and not at all by her integral, individual characteristics. Henderson mentions, 哲o, Mrs. Peters doesn't need supervising. For that matter, a sheriff's wife is married to the law.(1253). The men never doubt that Mrs. Peters is telling the truth, solely because of the fact that her husband is a sheriff. These expectations shed light on a key, recurring theme in this work: men do not fully appreciate or give credit to women. Henderson, Peters, and Hale all reveal this attitude through many of their comments and mannerisms throughout the play. As they roam throughout the house on the hunt for evidence, the sheriff notes, 哲othing here but kitchen things(1245). The men blatantly discount the potential significance behind the things left in Mrs. Wright's feminine domain and otherwise petty women's work. They also make a point to criticize Minnie Wright's housekeeping work, much to their wives' irritation: 哲ot much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies?(1245). Condescending, belittling comments such as these display the minimized level of importance associated with women in this society. The men direct all of their time and efforts analyzing the scene upstairs instead of in the kitchen, the nesting place of all of the 鍍rifles,causing them to completely miss all of the important details: the ruined fruit preserves, the loaf of bread placed out of the breadbox, the poorly done stitching in the quilt, and the empty birdcage. In fact, any mention of these seemingly trivial objects brings about laughing and scoffing from the men. They easily overlook every useful piece of evidence because of how severely they underestimate women. At the end of the play, the county attorney picks up an apron, laughs, and says, 徹h, I guess they're not very dangerous things the ladies have picked out(1252). In the male characters' eyes, women are harmless and delicate, and the things they associate with are terribly insignificant compared to the larger, more serious…