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The Female Roles in “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell

Categories: Trifles

“Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, the play that tests the roles of females through the outcome event that occurs in the story. “Trifles” challenges the audience to reconsideration gender roles. This story is offered view female characters who discuss the death of Mr. Wright, and Mrs. Wright who is suspected of killing her husband. Mrs. Wright was stuck in a marriage and time where she had no rights and was isolated from the outside world.

Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters could tell Mrs.

Wright. The two women found evidence that points to the guilty verdict of Mrs. Wright killing her husband. The first clue was the lack of tidiness around the kitchen. Mrs. Wright left out preserves, Hale comments “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles” (Glaspell, p. 775). This comment by Hale implies that women\’s profession should be focused on The Attorney kicks the pans under the sink after finding a dirty towel. He exclaims \”Dirty towels!

Not much of a housekeeper would you say, ladies?” (Glaspell, p.

775). After Mrs. Hale rigidly sticks up for Mrs. Wright, the Attorney strikes back stating “Ah, loyal to your sex, I see.” (Glaspell, p. 775). The man easily picked out the messy items from the house yet made no comment about the other items that were in order and clean. This comment made by the attorney implies that he envisions women as objects whose job is to maintain the household, and thus by neglecting her the preserves and towel, Mrs. Wright has not done her job.

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The second clue which Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters noticed was the quilt that Mrs. Wright was working on. Mrs. Hale inspects the quilt and finds a square piece “all over the place” (Glaspell 778). While the other pieces were all “nice and even” (Glaspell, p. 778). Comparing these two differences, Mrs. Hale asks Mrs. Peters “What do you suppose she was so nervous about?” (Glaspell, p. 779). Mrs. Hales suggests that Mrs. Wright messed up the last black of the quilt because she was nervous, and her mind was on something else. Despite the questioning, the ladies redid the block.

Lastly, the empty bird cage is the third clue. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters observe that the birdcage is broken, and the door hinge has been ripped off. Examining the cage, Mrs. Hale mentions it looking “as if someone must have been rough with it” (Glaspell, p. 779). The women find the missing bird, in Mrs. Wrights sewing box wrapped in silk. Mrs. Hale exclaims, “But Mrs. Peters –look at its neck! Look at its neck!” (Glaspell, p. 781). Of which, Mrs. Peters replies, “Somebody—wrung—its –neck” (Glaspell, p. 781). These two ladies share a look of understanding. They decide to hide the bird; the evidence. It is noteworthy to mention the similarity between the bird and the death of Mr. Wright. The singing bird symbolizes Mrs. Wright, as the bird was a singing bird, and “She used to sing. He killed that, too” (Glaspell, p. 781). Mr. Wright supposedly killed the bird, which in turn pushes Mrs. Wright over the edge and led her to kill Mr. Wright.

Throughout the play, the women continue sharing knowing looks between one another after discovering evidence that points to Mrs. Wright being the killer. Mrs. Hale states, “We all go through the same thing—it is all just a different kind of the same thing” (Glaspell, p. 782). From this statement, we can conclude that these three women have gone through the same discrimination. Lastly, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters had all the evidence that would lead to the conviction of Mrs. Wright. The three main clues which Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters found, pointed towards Mrs. Wright. However, rather than turn her in, they hid each piece of evidence. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters understood the limitations and struggle that Mrs. Wright endured daily. This play was focused on gender discrimination between men and women, and the traditional roles of marriage.

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The Female Roles in “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell. (2020, Sep 09). Retrieved from

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