Trifles Susan Glaspell Term Paper

Pages: 3 (994 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women


Susan Glaspell's Trifles and the Question of Gender

Susan Glaspell's story Trifles at first seems to be a simple story. It only involves seven characters and one of them, John Wright, is already dead. His wife, Minnie Wright, is the only plausible suspect. Five other characters investigate the death of Mr. Wright in his farmhouse. They are George Henderson (the county attorney), Henry Peters (the Sheriff), Lewis Hale (a neighboring farmer), Mrs. Peters (the Sheriff's wife), and Mrs. Hale (Mr. Hale's wife). The story consists of a simple plot where both men and women try to investigate the murder on their own, with occasional interactions between men and women. Women look for evidences in the kitchen and the sewing room, while men avoid such places, considering them as "trifles." Men fail to find any evidences but the women do though they conceal their discovery because they empathize with the plight of Minnie. Although the plot sounds simple, there are complex themes addressed in the story by Glaspell. The most important among these is the question of gender. Men cannot find any evidences because they are blinded by their arrogance and cannot understand women's motives, while women approach things differently from men and assess the case with doubt, understanding, and emotions, and not based on mere mechanics of law and order.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Trifles Susan Glaspell's Trifles and the Question Assignment

Annette Kolodny, a feminist literary critic who notes that, without understanding female perspective on the issue, men cannot "read" the themes of Trifles, writes of the gender themes in literature: "whether we speak of poets and critics 'reading' texts or writers 'reading' (and thereby recording for us) the world, we are calling attention to interpretive strategies that are learned, historically determined, and thereby necessarily gender-inflected" (Kolodny, 1980, p. 452). Glaspell in her story critiques gender values and attitudes of men at the time. The male characters in the story behave themselves as if gender is irrelevant, insignificant, most likely a "trifle." But there is no doubt that the whole story is "gender-inflected," as Kolodny notes. Almost one-third of the story at the beginning chronicles conversations by men, women remaining silent. Whatever women do, they are sarcastically ridiculed by men who assume that women lack intelligence to grasp the essence of the issue and are preoccupied with "trifles." But the irony is that the evidence is in those "trifles," i.e. The kitchen and Minnie's sewing basket. The story is so "gender-inflicted" that without understanding gender issues, the story cannot be grasped. Gender is the key to the heart of the story.

The story also critiques male chauvinistic arrogance that has blinded them to the realities of simple life. So, there is a difference in the approaches and the ways of understanding things between men and women. For men, the important matters in investigation is to follow the procedure (established by men), the law (established by men), and the "common sense" (again, as understood by men). Whereas women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, place themselves on the shoes… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Trifles Susan Glaspell" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Trifles Susan Glaspell.  (2012, April 30).  Retrieved September 24, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Trifles Susan Glaspell."  30 April 2012.  Web.  24 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Trifles Susan Glaspell."  April 30, 2012.  Accessed September 24, 2021.