Trifles: Gender and Mrs. Wright

Susan Glaspell’s Trifles Susan Glaspell’s one act play Trifles,written in 1916, is based on actual events that occurred at the turn of the century in Iowa. Glaspell worked as a reporter where she covered the murder trial of a farmer’s wife, Margaret Hossack. Hossack was accused of killing her husband, John, by striking him twice in the head with an ax while he slept (Overview: Trifles). Glaspell’s memory of the Hossack trial inspired her writing of Trifles.

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Glaspell’s play isrepresentative of American turn of the century society that explores gender relationships and power between the sexes. George Henderson goes around the kitchen, making comments that belittle the women in terms of how they are only concerned with tiny thingsthat relate to their kitchens. It becomes clear at this point that the women notice things that the men don’t because they are too busy to criticize. For instance, the women notice that Mrs. Wright had bread set, an important detail because it shows what she was doing before the murder.

Another instance is when the women find the quilt Minnie Wright was working on and wonder if she was going to knot or quilt it. The men laugh at this; they do not realize that this too reveals a very important piece of evidence. Most of the quilt is very neat and perfect but all of a sudden there is a piece that is made poorly, revealing that Mrs. Wright was not her usual careful self. Works Cited “Overview: Trifles. ” Drama for Students. Ed. David M. Galens. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale, 2000. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Mar. 2010.


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