The gender conflicts in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles.

In the play of Susan Glaspell’s play, it was written in the year 1916. The setting of the play is in a kitchen, the sphere, and everything surrounding shows the women’s lives. It shows the writers being preoccupied with the culture, which is bound by the sex and gender roles. As it has been explained in the title. Trifles mean something of little or no importance. The women in this society are seen as the trifles, which has no importance. Only found only in the kitchen. They do not seem to be helpful, but men are seen as crucial according to what they do. Glaspell decides to question the woman and man irrelativeness in the society, by stirring up tension and drama, which reveals the differences between the two narratives the woman and the man. She argues centrally on the roles of a woman in the society, how perspectives and knowledge are devalued or valued in some particular contexts.

The play surrounds the murder of, John Wright, who was found to have been strangled in his house lying in his bed. His wife Minnie is the suspect from killing. They are supposed to be main actors, but they do not appear anywhere in the play but the attorney does appear. According to Holstein, he sees the two different narratives as. Parallel in the scene the men approaches the home where Mr. Wright was murdered, as the crime scene investigators while the women approach it as a home. In this context, the men are there as the professionals and are there to gather information on the investigations.

The women are there to get the preparation of personal effect that they need to carry to Mrs. Wright, who is imprisoned. The way women and the men view the crime is very different. The women know who the killer from the evidence they saw in the kitchen, but due to them going through similar abuse in the society decides to cover up for their friend. Men, on the other hand, does not enter the kitchen where evidence was, due to men’s ignorance that the kitchen is the world of women they leave the truth behind which was very open. It gives us knowledge that the women way of getting to know about the evidence gave them knowledge and the decision on how to act on that particular findings or the knowledge. The women instantly learned about the life Mrs. Wright has been living, not only the research on a murder case. Mrs. Wright was staying or living in the kitchen, unlike other people who live in the living room. As this is this way of getting some facts from the woman, the women have the ability to gain power for low status and can keep them quiet at the end of it.

The men undermine the women and are not allowed to contribute to the investigation Though they are the best in giving solutions. The power and authority of men are questioned when they kept crises crossing each other in the house with their actions leading to nowhere it showed their incompetence and ineffectuality ( Michigan Press, 2004. Print)

When the two women were at the scene of the crime they move very closer to each other which shows the bond of the women. The cherries of the jar in the room simplified the life of Minnie, which was so dark and needed some light. She was isolated from the community that makes her cold in life and marriage, which teamed her apart. The name Minnie was symbolic being minimal or mini. It referred to the minimized right of a woman in the society.

The bird that had been caged in the house symbolized Mrs. Wright is kept in the cage, which is in the house. The cage of the bird being destroyed and killed means Mrs. Wright was being killed by strangling by her husband. The keeping of the bird in the cage was symbolic of Mrs. Wright is not allowed to be outside the world, trapped inside the building. So her killing her husband, was done in order to set herself free. It explains how women have been misuse and only confined in homes they are not allowed to mix with other people. They way the women and men came up in the investigation, gives us the two different modes of judgment from both sexes. Women are the best investigators than men though men see themselves as superior it does not depict that in this play ( Michigan Press, 2004. Print).

The women developed the form of bonding because they came from the same geographical background that made them have sympathy with each other. Due to the same dissatisfaction and frustration, which arose from patriarchal relations in the gender, the women decided to hide the glue in order to challenge the judicial system, which is male-centered. The people, who share the same characteristics, tend to stick together when a problem comes in and protect each other.

The community is an enclosed, which makes everyone a suspect though Mrs. Wright was in bed with the husband when being strangled, she did not wake up to help if it was real. Minnie having the singing bird in the house signified that she loved singing, but his husband did not allow her to sing. In the end, John Wright did kill the bird that was the only company for his wife.

In their house, they did not have telephone meaning they did not want to connect with the neighbors. The neighbors describe Mr. Wright, as a good man, a farmer in public. His wife was not allowed to socialize with her female friends. Minnie was a good singer in the church but when she got married she changed drastically. Minnie did not have a child, and being confined in the house alone, limited her social life, and changed a personality. Home should be a place where someone feels comfortable, but this has been questioned a lot by the feminists. According to women home, is an arena of drudgery and abuse. For Minnie, it was a place of physical and psychological abuse where she had no peace, but fear taking the better part of her life. For Mr. Wright, he needed a complete silence in his house, by refusing telephone and killing the bird is symbolic of silence. Smith has some claims that there is some possibility that Minnie was being battered by her husband, which let to isolate herself, from the church choir and fellow women. The battered people tend to isolate themselves from people in order to avoid being asked and telling them what they go through or feel. Staying alone which only gave her many problems than if she had involved herself in doing something better. This shows that, not all married women enjoy the marriage life, but they hide their problems and keep distant from friends and relatives. In doing, this they think they are saving their marriages from being seen as going to ruins. The same secrets that she kept reached a point when the pressure went higher and her whole life broke apart.

In this book, the women joined hands in is created by the same sense of being in a place, pressure caused by the spatial division, and the inferior status in them a hierarchy of social gender. Women in trying to end domestic violence and the injustices use trifles, in the movement of women as good example of the effect of bonding. In the trifles, there are female detectives; they are both gone through similar experiences while living in Midwest. They did challenge the patriarchal relations of gender when they hid crucial evidence from the male. The same is the woman’s honor when six of unnamed women, who lives in Midwestern, they did question the honor of women when they admitted to doing some dishonorable things. When Gordon Wallace is being accused of a murder case, he refuses to take an alibi due to his believe that woman’s honor will be destroyed. The women later decided to provide an excuse to Wallace though they were sacrificing their honor ( Michigan Press, 2004. Print|).

The women of honor are meant to dehumanize and limit women in the society. The men in the play use their names, but the women use their husband’s name and their won. The six women in the play were only identified according to their characteristics; the scornful one, the cheated one, mercenary one, the silly one, the shielded one and the motherly one. Their names had some meaning and expressions of the different feminists and the way the society sees them. The character of women who wants to save Wallace is an indication of love in women, but there is no such thing in men.


This book explains a strong sense of a given place, the stories of crime and the place committed has a lot of meaning of inner conflicts of the offender and the victim. In any crime, there is a possibility of to be changed by an effort by manmade and the social construction, which needs to be descriptive and static only. From the similar experiences of women in the society, they know the truth but hides for fear of men who down look upon them. From the continuous suffering of the women, they decide to change the meaning of honor by questioning the patriarchal of the society. The writer cares about the way gender is being constructed in a given place as well as how the place has been gendered. The society ought to view women in a better way because if they had considered them, they could have first information concerning the murder case of one of them.

Works Cited

Hinz-Bode, Kristina. Susan Glaspell and the Anxiety of Expression: Language and Isolation in the Plays. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2006 of Michigan Press, 2004. Print. Internet resource.

Gainor, J E. Susan Glaspell in Context: American Theater, Culture, and Politics, 1915 – 48. Ann Arbor, Mich: Univ. of Michigan Press, 2004. Print.

Ben-Zvi, Linda. Susan Glaspell: Essays on Her Theater and Fiction. Ann Arbor (Mich.: University of Michigan press, 2002. Print.


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