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How -- she -- did -- change."(Glaspell) the second sense of the play's title becomes obvious: there is no place in the male world of overt action for women's fragility and sensibility, symbolized by the singing bird. The two wives intuitively understand that Mrs. right's husband could not understand or like "a thing that sang": "No, right wouldn't like the bird -- a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that, too."(Glaspell) Thus, men appear here as insensible and devoid of understanding outside the practical purposes.
The play thus emphasizes the importance of the neglected "trifles" of the women's inner lives, which seem unimportant, as they produce no obvious effect on the outer reality. John right is described as a good man through the eyes of society, but the women intuitively perceive his coldness and heartlessness, which for them is equal to murder: "Yes -- good; he didn't…… [Read More]
Susan Glaspell,(Trifles). Please ensure original wor
There is a great deal of irony found in Susan Glaspell's work of literature entitled "Trifles." Irony, of course, is when words are used the exact opposite of their literal meaning. The concept of situation irony also exists within literature, in which characters act the exact opposite of the way that a certain situation calls for. An examination of Glaspell's work indicates that the author utilizes both these types of irony in conceiving the plot for her story in which a pair of wives -- untrained housewives -- are able to decipher the motive for a murder case in which law enforcement officials are not. This fact alone is an excellent example of situation irony, and the opposite of what a reader would expect from housewives and law enforcement officials involved in a murder case. A thorough deconstruction of the language of…… [Read More]
The words on the page are powerful as illiams uses symbolism to emphasize moods. Viewing the play with the plays of light and shadows would be a delight because we could see the characters moving in and out of darkness.
August ilson's play, Fences, is titled such because of the fences people tend to build between one another. This is demonstrated with Troy and Cory, who cannot agree upon much. Their differences only push them farther apart. The fences symbolizes separation between people and boundaries people place. The actual fences protests Rose's family but for Troy, it is nothing but a burden. Bono captures the meaning of the fences perfectly when he says, "Some people build fences to keep people out . . . And some people build fences to keep people in" (1631), Troy manages to erect a fence around himself, keeping his son a safe distance away. Time…… [Read More]
Wright as well as their own lives.
Putting aside the fact that oomer's Cane is a much different piece -- it is not a play and is much lengthier than rifles -- the language, form and mood vary significantly. For example, "Fern," one of the stories in the Cane collection, first appears to be a portrait of an exquisite woman who nobody understands. However, the reader soon realizes that she is much more complex. here exists layer upon layer over her, as she is revealed to be a representative of an entire group of American people. She also represents the many ways that women are treated. Her depth is indicative of the other characters in this book as well.
In rifles, the readers immediately walk into the Wright's home with the other characters. here is no one keeping the readers from becoming instantly involved with the action. However, in Cane,…… [Read More]
Holmes always solves the crime, and that fact is very satisfying to the reader. Similarly, the two women are inadvertently unearthing the clues to the murder alongside the searching investigators. Glaspell endears us to the two women through the use of personal experiences and memories. Through their similarities, the two women also endear the reader to Minnie right. This closeness in character makes it perfectly acceptable when the women lie to the investigators about the bird and the cat, as well as when they stay quiet at the end of the narratives (Holstein 282).
As the story unfolds, the reader becomes keenly aware of the emotional abuse and frightening loneliness that Minnie right was facing. Because her character has been flushed out through the use of the tiny things in her life, the reader can solve the mystery of Minnie right. e not only know why she murdered her husband,…… [Read More]
Susan Glaspell's Trifles
The title of Susan Glaspell's drama Trifles indicates that it will deal with seemingly small matters: as Mrs. Hale says of the pivotal prop in the stage-play -- "Wouldn't they just laugh? Getting all stirred up over a little thing like a -- dead canary!" (Glaspell 27-8). Yet Mrs. Hale's sense that, if a male audience could see her dialogue with Mrs. Peters in Trifles by Susan Glaspell, they would fail to understand Glaspell's use of the songbird as a symbol of the plight of disenfranchised woman. Glaspell wrote Trifles in 1916, four years before the Nineteenth Amendment gave American women the right to vote. I wish to show that, although Glaspell's play long predates the feminist slogan "the personal is the political," she nonetheless uses symbolism that works on both a personal and political level, to make a statement about the condition of women in 1916.…… [Read More]
In reality, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are even more invested in the investigation than the men, because they demonstrate an attention to detail that the men lack. By the time the men return from their fruitless investigations, the women have determined both why and how Mrs. right murdered her husband, and they even come to the decision not to supply the evidence without ever alerting the men. Furthermore, their attempts to hide the small box containing the dead bird (whose death was Mrs. right's motive for the murder) are successful precisely because the men disregard the value of their work, with the country attorney saying "oh, I guess they're not very dangerous things the ladies have picked out" (Glaspell). In reality, the lawyer simply does not care about closely investigating the things the women have decided to take, because he assumes that they will not have taken anything of…… [Read More]
Susan Glaspell's Trifles
Analysis of Symbols in Susan Glaspell's Trifles
Although short, Susan Glaspell's play, Trifles, is packed with key symbols that, thoroughly examined, offer a close look at the isolation and hopelessness that characterized the life of some women in the early 20th century. In particular, Glaspell uses the setting of the kitchen -- the traditional sphere of the woman -- to provide several symbols and offer biting social commentary delivered through vastly different gendered speakers, the male investigators and Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters.
The first crucial symbol in Trifles is the jarred fruit. The men immediately perceive the sticky fruit that has emerged from the broken jars as a mess, and they immediately seize the opportunity to comment on Mrs. Wright's poor housekeeping. In sharp contrast, Mrs. Peters explains that the jars cracked because of the kitchen fire had gone out and notes that Mrs. Wright had…… [Read More]
TRIFLES by Susan Glaspell
In "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell, the characteristics of the women and the attitudes to their men and their own roles in life are gradually illuminated. The intensity of the situation, in effect two women judging the life of the third, absent party, provides a context in which Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peter grow significantly, in character, strength and importance.
The principle characters in the play are effectively the three women, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Peters and Minnie Foster-Wright. This is contrary to the opening lines, during which the bulk of the dialogue and the perspective on events is from the men. It not until the men retire upstairs to seek clues, and the two sexes are physically separated, that the women are revealed to be the focus of the play. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are then shown in their more natural context: without the presence of…… [Read More]
Susan Glaspell's one-act play Trifles is frequently anthologized, and for good reason (Makowsky 59; Cerf 103). The play differs from a traditional drama in a number of ways, including its structure and narrative content, but arguably its most important feature is it reveals who its protagonists are and the effect this character choice has on the play as a whole. Although the actions of Minnie right constitute the narrative focus of the play, she is not the actual protagonist, because the story's immediate action is carried out by Mrs. Peters, the Sheriff's wife, and Mrs. Hale, her friend. Once Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are introduced, however, the male characters frequently attempt to trivialize their actions, such that their status as the primary protagonists is uncertain until the play concludes with their decision to cover for Mrs. right. By examining how other characters and the play itself treats Mrs.…… [Read More]
While men ignore the kitchen as containing "nothing but kitchen things," women look for evidence precisely there because it is the only place where women are in control. As Holstein (2003) argues, women do not enter the house of Mr. Wright as a place of investigation but as a home of two human beings who have feelings. For men, what matters is the evidence and if they find one, they will charge Minnie with murder, no questions asked. They need facts, evidences, and just follow the procedure. But women want to understand the motives and why a woman would want to avenge her own husband.
Although women discover the truth, they see Minnie as a victim rather than a perpetrator. A conversation between Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, discussing the character of Mr. Wright, is of particular interest here. Mrs. Peters says, "They say he was a good man." Note…… [Read More]
Susan Glaspell's play Trifles is filled with moral questions and ethical ambiguity. Throughout the one-act play, each character makes moral and ethical choices that affect the outcome of the investigation. Their moral choices also reveal key things about their characters, their worldview, and their ethical codes. At the center of the play is Minnie right and her dead husband John. Death is often a moral matter. If John had committed suicide, the act would have raised questions about the ethics of suicide. If indeed Minnie has killed John, several other ethical questions come to the fore. Glaspell opts to leave the ethics of the play purposefully ambiguous. hereas the men on the side of the law like the Sheriff and Attorney have simplistic ethical systems in which there are clear-cut delineations between right and wrong, the women in Trifles explore far more complex dimensions of moral choices.
Trifles therefore…… [Read More]
Trifles by Susan Glaspell depicts a world in which women are ignored in society. The play takes place in the right home after Mr. right has been murdered. Mr. Peters and Mr. Hale come to the scene to investigate the crime that has taken place. The investigators believed that Mrs. right is to blame for her husband's death, but they have no idea why should would do that. As the men's wives -- Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale -- wait downstairs they end up solving the crime by paying attention to what their husbands call "trifles" -- trivial things that they believe have no bearing on the crime. Yet these "trifles" are the keys to the murder. The trifles in the play are symbolic of the many ways in which Mrs. right was oppressed. The fact that these "trifles" were found in the kitchen, where women were confined to in…… [Read More]
Motivation for Murder in Susan Glaspell's Play Trifles
In her brief play Trifles (1916) author Susan Glaspell seems at first to use the aftermath of a woman's having murdered her husband as her main action. However, by the conclusion of this play, it becomes clear that this event, and the way the other characters react to it, is of mere secondary importance. Glaspell uses the setting of the investigation of the murder of Mr. John Wright, by his emotionally abused wife while he slept, to demonstrate deeper underlying concerns. The most important of these is the trivialization, especially by male characters within the play (e.g., Hale; the Sheriff; the County Attorney, and by implication, John Wright) of the women's lives, feelings, perceptions, and rights. In this essay, I will explore ways that Glaspell uses character, language, and setting to develop her theme of women's desperate aloneness in circumstances like Mrs.…… [Read More]
In Susan Glaspell's play, "Trifles," a main teme is tat of gender's roles in society. Te women ad to take care of te ouseold, wile te men's role was as public figure.
Te canary is one of te most important symbols in te play, because it represents te freedom of Mrs. Minnie Wrigt, before and after te marriage. Te autor describes er as being full of life "Se used to wear pretty clotes and be lively, wen se was Minnie Foster, one of te town girls singing in te coir." After 30 years of marriage wit Jon Wrigt, wo made er life miserable, se lost er vivaciousness, and became like a bird trapped in a cage.
Te murder itself may be considered a symbol. Wen Mr. Wrigt kills te canary, e destroys, in fact, is wife's spirit and joy to live. Ten Mrs. Wrigt murders er usband, to revenge…… [Read More]
Jury of Her Peers, by Susan Glaspell, and "A Municipal eport," by O. Henry. Specifically, it will evaluate the relative quality of the two stories. Glaspell's work is the more significant of the two, because of the abusive theme it explores, while showing how women stick together during times of duress. O. Henry's story is also compelling, but not as much so as Glaspell's.
Henry's work and Susan Glaspell's work could not be further apart at first glance, yet they both make striking social commentary, one with humor, and one with horror. O. Henry's is laughable and sometimes shocking, (the depiction of the blacks in the story is so typical of the South, and so typically racist it is difficult to read). "What is that to you?' I asked, a little sharply. 'Nothin', suh, jus' nothin'. Only it's a lonesome kind of part of town and few folks…… [Read More]
Wright indicated her dead husband was after being questioned by Mr. Hale. Notwithstanding the close spatial relationship of husband and wife sleeping in the same bed, the murder took place without Mrs. Wright's knowledge. The upstairs area is clearly delineated from the downstairs kitchen where women "ruled the roost" when the men laugh at the women for their interest in quilting styles rather than the crime at hand. In addition, Glaspell also draws on the spatial relationships that exist between women in terms of their geographic proximity as well as their natural camaraderie and fellowship. Indeed, Mrs. Hale admits, "I might have known she needed help! I know how things can be -- for women. I tell you, it's queer, Mrs. Peters. We live close together and we live far apart. We all go through the same things -- it's all just a different kind of the same thing."… [Read More]
Symbols in Trifles of a Woman’s Oppression
As Ben-Zvi notes, “women who kill evoke fear because they challenge societal constructs of femininity—passivity, restraint, and nurture” (141). For this reason, Susan Glaspell couched her play Trifles in comedic irony show as to show the real effects of oppressed womanhood that finally explodes in a way that would get the point across to the audience without frightening it to death. After all, the play was written at a time before women had even received the right to vote in 1920. It was conceived decades before the Feminist Movement came into existence during the 1960s following Betty Friedan’s landmark work The Feminine Mystique. Trifles contrasts sharply with the view of womanhood that had emerged by the end of the 20th century, at which point women had entered into the workforce, were running large companies, and were no longer expected to stay in their…… [Read More]
Nature of omen
In many ways, the relationship between the female characters in Edith harton's "Roman Fever" and Susan Glaspell's "Trifles" is diametrically opposed between the two stories. Although there is a degree of amicability prevalent in the relationship in each tale, the principle characters in harton's narrative are largely antagonistic towards one another, whereas the principles in Glaspell's play seem to grow closer towards one another the more time they spend together. hat is significant about this fact is that the reason for the animosity in the former work and the growing sense of unity in the latter is relatively the same -- the nature of women. The conflict in "Trifles" presents a number of facets about the nature of women that allows for solidarity in the face of adversity, whereas the conflict in "Roman Fever" illustrates aspects of womanhood that is indicative of disunity and antagonism.
From the…… [Read More]
Then after Homer disappeared, she gave china painting lessons until a new generation lost interest, and then "The front door closed...remained closed for good" (Faulkner pp). Emily's depression caused her to become a recluse.
All three female protagonists are so dominated by male authority figures that their loneliness leads to severe depression, which in turn leads to madness, then eventually acts of violence. None of the women have active control of their lives, however, each in their own way makes a desperate attempt to take action, to seek a type of redemption for the misery and humiliation they have endured by the male figures in their lives.
Curry, Renee R. "Gender and authorial limitation in Faulkner's 'A Rose for Emily.'" The Mississippi Quarterly. June 22, 1994. Retrieved July 28, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library eb site.
Faulkner, illiam. "A Rose for Emily." Retrieved July 28, 2005 at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/wf_rose.html…… [Read More]
As mothers, wives and housekeepers women can hardly enact their sensibility: "Not having children makes less work -- but it makes a quiet house, and right out to work all day, and no company when he did come in."(Glaspell)
Men do nothing but laugh at the trivialities that women are preoccupied with, preserving their belief that the sensibility is something exaggerated and that women always make a fuss over the most banal things:
My, it's a good thing the men couldn't hear us. ouldn't they just laugh! Getting all stirred up over a little thing like a -- dead canary. As if that could have anything to do with--with -- wouldn't they laugh!"(Glaspell)
Glaspell's play therefore is truly enlightening in many respects, and is worthy of being represented on stage as it manages to pinpoint the way in which the interior world and the sensibility of the women is for…… [Read More]
However, this relationship with a labor organization provides more than that. Former IWW members Larry Slade and Don Parritt are haunted by the organization. Although not a former member, Kalmer is an anarchist. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) divided workers into narrow unions pursuing particular interests related to their trades and working conditions rather than creating larger comprehensive bargaining units. The IWW approach to railroad workers, for example, was a single large union instead of separate locals of firemen, switchmen, engineers, porters, among others, united behind the common cause of all the workers -- this common cause also being formed with other sizeable unions to provide a single industrial front (ibid)..
Yet it was not only O'Neill who made a name for himself and the IWW with the Provincetown Players. Susan Glaspell produced a wide variety of plays during this time that also promoted women in the theater. One…… [Read More]
The image of the law arises, but like the woman, the captain has already experienced a kind of internal, moral shift. Like the woman the captain cannot bear to morally condemn the murderer, or reveal the fact that Leggatt is on his ship when the authorities arrive. Captain Archbold wants to act according to the law, like the men of the Glaspell tale, but Leggatt's protective captain pretends the ship is empty and points out that Leggatt's actions helped save the ship during a storm.
The captain, from a law-abiding man, has suddenly become a man who will evade the law, because he mysteriously perceives himself to be the same as another man. Unlike the feminist identification or mirroring that occurs in the Glaspell tale, the Conrad tale's sense of a "mirror image" of two psychologically united selves is far more mysterious. Eventually, the captain agrees to allow Leggatt to…… [Read More]
Subjective truth forms our perception of reality when regarding people, cultures, religion, or any other differentiating factor, and this is true of the male gender-perception of women. Plausibility structures, which govern our perspective and control how we perceive the Other, are part and parcel of every culture, gender, religion, and community. In fact, they are directly responsible for our ability to believe the seemingly unbelievable about others. For example, for a very long time, members of hate groups (which they would call patriotic organizations) have created a culture in which its members are convinced of the reality that all people who are not white are so different from them as to be rendered unimportant. Men have, for millennia, subjected women to a 'reality' that tells them they are inferior of mind and body, are unable to engage in the kinds of activities that men can, and that their contributions to…… [Read More]
Pygmalion -- George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw -- one of the most well regarded playwrights -- wrote this comedy and first presented it to the public in 1912. He took some of the substance of the original Greek myth of Pygmalion and turned it into a popular play. In Greek mythology Pygmalion actually came to fall in love with one of his sculptures, and the sculpture suddenly became a living human. But in this play two older gentlemen, Professor Higgins (who is a scientist studying the art of phonetics) and Colonel Pickering (a linguist who specializes in Indian dialects) meet in the rain at the start of this play.
Higgins makes a bet with Pickering that because of his great understanding of phonetics, he will be able to take the Covent Garden flower girl -- who speaks "cockney" which is not considered very high brow in England -- and…… [Read More]
This skilled use of ironic prose is also observable in "A Jury of her Peers" by Susan Glaspell, as when the woman who has just committed murder tells the investigators: "after a minute...'I sleep sound.'" the tale depicts how a group of women gradually deduce, through small and simple clues, how Mrs. right killed her husband, and why. The women's observations are more astute than the male investigator's analysis, according to police protocols. The point of the story is not murder, but the fact that the murder's quiet wifely desperation has gone ignored for so long, and that only fellow female sufferers can see this sorrow after the fact. Likewise, the point of O'Connor's story, more than the lurid aspects, are the ways that families and human beings fail to connect and communicate with one another, before it is too late.
A naysayer might sniff and ask why use murder…… [Read More]
This includes the kitchen and anything related to Mrs. right. Ironically, the clues to the murder are in these places. The women notice the misplaced loaf of bread, the birdcage and the quilt "that's not sewed very good" (1121). The crime scene is all about trifles but the men would never know.
hile women have progressed over the decades, there are still certain areas of life that are directly associated with women. omen are still the primary family members that take care of the household and the family. omen still pay attention to the kinds of details that men tend to overlook - sometimes the most important details of all as Trifles demonstrates.
Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. The Norton Introduction to Literature. New York .. Norton and Company. 1991. pp.…… [Read More]
Psychology of Hysteria During Sigmund Freud's Era
For a man who dedicated his life's work to furthering humanity's understanding of its own psychological processes, the revolutionary pioneer of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud remained woefully misunderstood during his own era, and has so ever since. Although Freud published a voluminous body of innovative research during his professional career as a neuropathic researcher, studying a wide array of cognitive disorders from addiction to aphasia, it is the Austrian's radical reimagining of the human mind's very structure that has made Freud a household name for multiple generations. By conceiving of the mind as being similar to an iceberg floating in the sea -- with only a small portion of the entire entity ever visible -- Freud's conceptualization of the human psyche as a behavioral balancing act between the id, the superego, and the ego, with thought occurring at both the conscious and subconscious levels,…… [Read More]
Ibsen's side note is a emakably astute and honest appaisal of the ealities of patiachy. The statement was cetainly tue of Noa and he society. Even as she ties to negotiate some semblance of powe in the domestic ealm, the baies to women achieving genuine political, financial and social equality ae too entenched in the society.
The cental theme of patiachy is played out though the motif of the doll house itself, which is a metapho fo the domestication and subjugation of women. A woman is pevented fom acting outside of he ole in the domestic sphee. She cannot "be heself" in the way a man can, which is to say, pemitted to pusue any level of education she pleases o acquie any type of pofessional cedentials she would like. Women ae beholden to men and become financially dependent on them, as they ae lauchned into caees of domestic sevitude.…… [Read More]
It was a love-hate situation, and he would be madly kissing her and letting her stir his carnal urges one moment, and the next he would loudly protest and pull away. So from that standpoint, Eben was changed after the death of the baby. He was not changed in a truly intelligent heart-felt way, but in a kind of acceptance that this is how it is (the current cliche, "It is what it is," fits in here perfectly). For Eben, it feels good to have sex with her, and anyway, being hateful and spiteful of his father, this incestuous affair with his father's wife is another way to get back at him.
The bottom line is that even before they are both punished for the crime of murder (not the crime of incest) Eben's naivete in terms of relationships is disgustingly obvious; he returns to Abbie after having bolted away…… [Read More]
Mrs. Peters shows this belief when she says, "But Mrs. Hale, the law is the law." (Glaspell, 16.)
Many of the laws that govern society are based on maintaining society. This includes criminal laws, which are easily justified, they protect everyone's safety. It also includes business laws, which again protect society by clarifying how businesses can operate. Everyone has a responsibility towards society simply because they are part of it. This means that individual freedom is restricted in favor of the freedom of society.
The question that "Trifles" raises, is when is it all right to overlook this responsibility to society in favor of responsibility to an individual. In life, this question is raised often. Stealing is a crime, but is it acceptable to steal food if a child's life depends on it? In the play we see that a criminal crime of 'suppression of evidence' occurs where Mrs. Peters…… [Read More]
women are "limited" from the very beginning of the play even in the sense that nearly a third of the drama passes without any role from the women whatsoever -- they are minimized in the background as the men do their work. The men carry on their official business in the house and the women are simply there to gather up things for Mrs. Wright while the men attempt to solve the crime. The men dominate the conversation and it is not really until they go upstairs to leave the women to themselves that the women come to the forefront. Though, before they leave their wives downstairs, there is a primary indicator of social roles that takes place in the kitchen. When the County Attorney discovers the mess of the fruit preserves, Mrs. Peters explains that Mrs. Wright was worried about the jars breaking. The underlying theme to the play…… [Read More]
corpse strangled with the rope still around his neck, the first thing I wanted to do was to remove the rope. Because the look on the dead body's face was horrible, and obviously the rope was what was responsible for the death, and also for the horrible look on the corpse's face, with bulging bloodshot eyes and the tongue sticking out. But Harry went and looked at the body to make sure that he was dead, and then basically Harry told me that this was a crime scene, so we shouldn't disturb any possible evidence. So we didn't take the rope off, and instead we went to talk to the victim's wife. She hadn't moved from the last time we saw her; she was just motionless in her chair. I asked her if she had told anybody about her husband's death, and in a weirdly non-emotional way she said that…… [Read More]
This conflict led Krebs to want to seek a staid, trouble free existence in which there were as few responsibilities and hardships incurred as a result as possible. In addition to the evidence already discussed that reinforces the truth of this thesis, such as the fact that Krebs lost the facets of his memory and life before the war that he once valued, that he spurns his parents' desires to get a good job and to readily marry, and that he has become exceedingly apathetic to the point of losing his love for his mother and himself, there is other evidence to support this claim. Hemingway spends a substantial amount of the text discussing Krebs' desire for young girls, yet his lack of interest in actually pursuing them. This aspect of his characterization is accounted for by the several allusions to sex and his involvement with prostitution in the war.…… [Read More]
hile the poems are no doubt universal, we can see elements of Americana sprinkled throughout them. Cultural issues such as decision-making, the pressure of responsibility and duty, and the complexity of death emerge in many poems, allowing us to see society's influence on the poet. In "The Road Not Taken," we see how life is filled with choices. Because we are American, we are lucky enough to experience freedom but this does not always come without difficulty. ith this poem, the narrator explains how decision-making can be trying because we never actually know how things are going to turn out. Nevertheless, we must make choices and get on with our lives. In "Stopping by oods," the narrator encounters a similar type of conflict in that the pull of our fast-paced American lives makes him or her want to stay in the woods for just a little while to enjoy the…… [Read More]