Susan Glaspell's Comitment to Sisterhood Essay

Submitted By hjohnson52
Words: 1578
Pages: 7

American Women Writers
Word Count: 1,579

Susan Glaspell’s Commitment to Sisterhood Susan Glaspell wrote many articles for The Des Moines Daily News, but there had only been one story which gave her the inspiration to write both a play and short story, the Hossack case was that story. Glaspell was so intrigued with this case she covered it completely, writing over two dozen articles for the newspaper between the time of December 1900 and April 1901. John Hossack was murdered in his house while he was sleeping in bed with his wife, Margret; four days after the murder while Margret was attending her husband’s funeral she was arrested and charged with his murder. After months of deliberations, Mrs. Margret Hossack was officially charged with the murder of her husband by a jury of all men. Over fifteen years after the trial and conviction Glaspell wrote the play Trifles which is loosely based on the trial and conviction of Mrs. Hossack. Although the similarities between the Hossack case and Trifles are clear, Glaspell decided not to include the guilty verdict; instead she focused the play on the bonds of sisterhood and the humanity that women generally possess, she focuses on this just like she subtly did throughout her coverage of the case. Looking back on the articles that Glaspell wrote, you can tell that even then she acted as though she had a subconscious obligation to defend the woman being charged, like the characters in Trifles did; she felt she had this obligation not because she was a woman but because there was little evidence and no proof throughout the entirety of the trial. On December 5, 1900 Glaspell wrote her third article covering the case and stated that the county sheriff had all intentions of arresting Margret with evidence that was “by no means conclusive of Mrs. Hossack's guilt” (Glaspell Sheriff), the next day Glaspell solemnly wrote another article confirming Mrs. Hossack’s arrest the night before. During Margret Hosack’s trial Glaspell continued delivering only facts but she may have added more information than necessarily required; she states that the prosecution claimed that Mrs. Hossack and her husband had fought recently, but she goes on to say that they fought “because the father was unwilling to overlook his son’s shortcomings.” (Glaspell She). Not only did Glaspell manage to defend Mrs. Hossack’s reasons for arguing with her husband, but she also shares that their arguments were over her son that she was defending; most mothers could sympathize with considering the circumstances. This was so early in the case that it is clear that the people who claimed that this was suspicious or proof that she had murdered her husband had clearly already decided her verdict. During Glaspell’s time covering the trial she speaks not only about the lack of evidence but also the aggressive sentiment the public, which at this time only included men, had toward Margret Hossack. The main piece of evidence they had thought they had against her at the time was a bloody hatchet found behind the Hossack’s barn, that of which was discovered to be covered in fowl blood by a chemist who analyzed it for the defense. Glaspell stated how throughout the entire trial Margret Hossack was not without support of her friends and family, they knew she was incapable of doing such an act; but the public was “still overwhelmingly against her.” (Glaspell It Is). Glaspell continued stressing the fact that Mrs. Hossack had no public support throughout the trial until the guilty verdict that was given to her on April 11, 1901. Mrs. Hossack released very few statements during the conviction and trial but on April 19, after being convicted, she released this statement, “’Sheriff Hodson, tell my children not to weep for me. I am innocent of the horrible murder of my husband. Someday people will know I am not guilty of that terrible crime.’” (Glapell Mrs. Hossack).
Glaspell goes on to write Trifles fifteen years after she…