Essay on Trifles:
Do things are just how they seem to be at first glance?
When I just started reading the play, I caught myself on the thought that I begin to feel depressed. Just from the very beginning description of the Wright’s family kitchen casted a gloom over me and that felling hadn’t left me just up to the end of the play. Interesting is the fact that the play is based upon actual events that took place in Indianola. The details are changed, but it is obvious that the story left deeply impressed the author.
Mr. Wright was murdered. The County Attorney, the Sheriff and Sheriff’s wife Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale came to the house to investigate the accident. Men concentrated on global approach to the matter, while women were very much concerned with appearance of the house, especially kitchen. But the story is not just about that women outsmarted men by paying attention to such details, as using the rope instead of gun (“there was a gun in the house”), not noticing the struggle by Minnie, piecing of the quilt, the same knots used for murder and the quilt, broken door on the cage (“Why, look at this door. It’s broke. One hinge is pulled apart”.), killed bird (“Its neck! Look at its neck! It’s all other side to”.); it is more about that in the nineteenth century men would never admit that women can know and see more then they do.
Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters had followed the whole scenario how the crime was committed including motive for the crime, while men are just rambling around seeing no evidence of what had happened in the house.
Author had written feministic play. Sex conflict is obvious. Males and females hadn’t understood each other and they even hadn’t tried to. It can be because of gender differences. The play draws men brash, analytical, rough and self-concentrated and women sensitive, intuitive and deliberative.
From the first glance the story told by the author seems to be all about sex conflict, but after more thorough examination it appears to have deeper routs that go to the role of woman in the nineteenth century and the delicate verge between law and justice.
In the nineteenth century question about women’s inequality and inability to live their own lives was very sharp. It was about different role expectations and to the men’s attitude to them. Women were considered to be created not to live for their own happiness, pleasure and joy, but that of their husbands and children. They were taking care of the house, working in the garden and had no opportunity for expressing themselves in other ways. For example, if woman had at that time a writing talent, she had to take a man’s name in order to be published. Their education was limited, they had to play particular roles in society to be considered “lady” or just “good wife” and there is an impression that nobody paid any attention to their personalities. After making a research, I have found that there was a literary background for this play.
Kate Chopin and Fanny Fern also paid very much attention to those issues.
Everything in the world is relative. There no thing that can be totally good or bad, it just through which frame reference we explore it.
“Trifles” by Susan Glaspell is also bright example that each person has a choice what side to take and either to pity Mrs. Wright or her husband. From my point of view, the choice is more hidden but not less important issue of the drama.
Mr. and Mrs. Wright were married for about thirty years. As Mrs. Hale noticed about Mrs. Wright “she used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls signing in the choir”. That was before their marriage. It is nothing said about what kind of man was Mr. Wright when they first met, but evidently something was really good and attractive in him as she agreed to marry him. It was their deliberate act. I do not deny any prejudices of that time and probably she had no choice, but she should not at least forget about herself and do not fall in despair and try to turn the reality the way she wanted it to be.
Committing the crime is not only a legal aspect, but also a moral one, and the responsibility is on both of them. Frankly speaking I feel sorry neither for her, nor for him. In the story author had presented only the women’s view on the crime, probably because women are more emotional and they are more inclined to detailed analyses of the personal side of things. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are not blaming Minnie for what she had done. They understand all concomitant circumstances, including her unhappy marriage life, her lack of freedom and inability to be with things that she loved and just to be the woman. They kept silence about what they have discovered, because they knew that their proofs would just make men laugh. Oppression and sexual discrimination of women at that time can be clearly observed.
But let me return to the choice matter that I discussed earlier. Murder of the oppressive husband by his abused emotionally wife that was isolated at the remote farm- can that be justified? My answer is ‘no’. And I sympathize with Minnie hundred times and her poor life with rude farmer, but I will never understand and accept the fact of what she has done.
In the conclusion I would like to summarize what I have written earlier and express my personal attitude to the author and to the play itself. I greatly enjoyed the play with its bright dialogues that helped me to understand not only general feelings of that time, but also compare relationships of men and women. I am thankful to Susan Glaspell for her efforts to show society its drawbacks, and I think that because of such women now we have adequate society with no sex discrimination and equal rights.
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