“Trifles” A One-act Play by Susan Glaspell

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The play Trifles was written in the year 1916, with the context of the play being in a kitchen, and any surrounding that that portrays the lives of women in the 1900’s. It demonstrates the preoccupation of the writer in a culture that defines roles for different genders and sex. A Trifles imply something of minor or no importance.

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The women in this society are portrayed as trifles, which has no any value only meant to stay in the kitchen. They do not seem to be of any great importance, whereas men are perceived as crucial by the roles they perform. During the 1900’s, women were viewed as house wives who were expected to cook, clean, and take care of the children. With not much of a choice, women were to accept such treatment from society. Glaspell was a Pulitzer prize-winning actress, playwright, and novelist. Even though she was born in a male-dominated era, Glaspell succeeded and became a reporter where she covered murder cases and investigations. She quit being a reported to fulfil her dream and began writing and publishing fiction stories. Not only did Glaspell regard herself primarily as a fiction writer, but she was critically accepted as an American novelist of integrity and importance in the mid 1930s (Carpentier 93). Although most of her stories and plays were short, it gave her the prestige and recognition for the impact in her writing. She wrote most of her plays to have a message about women and their roles in society, and their relationships between men and women. Most of her writing was geared towards feminism because she wanted to show how differently women were treated through her plays. This disrespect is portrayed in her most popular play Trifles (1876-1948). As Galens highlights, Trifles is a murder mystery that explores gender relationships, power between the sexes, and the nature of truth. The context of this study surround the murder of John Wright, found lying on the bed in his house having been strangled. Minnie Foster-Wright, John’s wife, is treated as the first suspect of the killing. The women in the play, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are the main participants alongside the county attorney, a witness and Mrs. Hale’s husband. In the approaches of the murder scene the men seem to be more worried about judging Mrs. Wrights’ housekeeping, whereas the women, knowing the hardships of housekeeping, approach it as a home. The men within this play betray a sense of self-importance.

They present themselves as tough, serious-minded detectives when in truth, they are not nearly as observant as the female characters. (Bradford) The viewing of crime by both men and women is portrayed to be differently. The women had information about the suspect of the murder from the evidence they witnessed in the kitchen.

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