Narratives such as “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell (1916) evoke images of women as insignificant beings in a male dominated society (p. 21 ). Male attitudes towards women often prevented them from seeing what was in front of them. The female characters were all too aware who had murdered and the reason she likely committed it. The trifles as the male characters called the feminine objects were essential to solving the murder as well as understanding what drove the protagonist to act as she did (Glaspell, 1916, p. 21). The climax was particularly telling when the female characters told the attorney the suspect had intended to know the quilt pieces together (Glaspell, 1916, p. 22). This paper will discuss the importance of the play’s definitive moment as well as what matters most in the speech, whether the events or ideas were anticipated. Finally the text will discuss whether or not the play offered a moral for its intended audience to appreciate.
“Trifles” by Susan Glaspell (1916) had some poignant moments within the fabric of the story which made it appealing to even the most sceptical reader as it provided him or her with an insight into a world he or she would never experience (p. 21). The most significant moment was when the female characters realised their neighbour had murdered her husband as well as the reason she did it (Glaspell, 1916, p. 22). The lack of care for the crime reflected society’s unquestioned acceptance of men as the superior gender. Pride and chauvinism blinded the male characters to the key clues which would have helped them achieve justice for everyone. The mundane or unimportant details were overlooked, yet seemingly normal rooms could be the very place where the murder occurred. The most important part of the play was not the murder itself or who had committed it, rather it was the discovery of an empty bird cage as well as the simple question as to whether or not the bits of material would be knotted together without recognising its significance (Glaspell, 1916, p. 22).
While the narrative was complex it was also predictable which meant it was easy for the audience to anticipate what was likely to happen as it progressed. The lack of motivation and the men’s unwillingness to examine the fine details suggested the case would remain unresolved by the end of the play (Glaspell, 1916, p. 23). Traditional attitudes towards women provided female criminals with the chance to remain free to commit another crime. Gender played a significant role in the story as its emphasis of the public or masculine world and the private feminine domain provided the protagonist with a slim chance of escape. The very objects which were overlooked proved to be the answer to an otherwise normal home. The moral or the most important lesson the text taught its readers was to consider all the evidence on its merits rather than automatically dismissing it as the average person did.
“Trifles” by Susan Glaspell (1916) provided the reader with an insight into a male dominated society which women supposedly could not understand or enter (p. 21). Chauvinism prevented the men from observing the fine details which the women considered would give the murder little chance of justice. The narrative was a complex web of gender spheres within society. Despite the complexity the story was predictable as the dismissal of important evidence ultimately led to the murder being unresolved (Glaspell, 1916, p. 23). In conclusion the play taught its readers to appreciate the fine details rather than rejecting them as trifles or unimportant facts unworthy of further consideration.
Glaspell, S. (1916). Trifles. USA: Iowa University Press.