April 25, 2020
Trifles, a play by Susan Glaspell narrates a story on the daily human life on how men relate to women. It talks of gender relationships, power between the male and female, and lastly, the nature of truth in the world. It is a play that revolves around the family of Mr. and Mrs. Wright who were farmers and had lived for several years without getting a child. Mr. Wright passed on by committing suicide which was mysterious. From the start of the play, the acquaintance of information to the attorney general by Mr. Hale made them to decide to undertake an investigation so as to unravel the mystery behind the suicide.
This story has many teachings on how human beings are supposed to relate to each other. It also gives examples of issues that occur in real day-to-day life of human beings. For example; Mr Hale, the county attorney and Mr Peters look down upon women who have accompanied them by saying that they are supposed to be kitchen women. This is typical to many male chauvinists who do not share many ideas with their wives. From the story Mr Hale despises women by saying “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles”. He is seconded by the county attorney who concludes by his actions of kicking his foot against the sink and despising the housekeeping work of ladies.
“Dirty towels” (Kicks his foot against the pans under the sink). Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies?” Mrs Peters acknowledges the male chauvinism that dominates men by thanking Mrs Hale for going to Mr Wright’s house. It is due to the fact that, she could have remained alone at the kitchen for the period that men would be doing investigations. Mrs Peters also confirms how they were despised by men by saying, “It is good the men couldn’t hear us. Wouldn’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!” (Makowsky, 1993).
There is another lesson that is evident from the story; how family affairs and relationships may be hard to persevere. From the story, Mr and Mrs Wright have lived for some time without a child; also, the house has been quiet due to their being childless. It has been hard for Mrs. Wright to take it, which forced her to buy a parrot that could keep the house noisy. Mr. Wright persevered for long the noise made by the parrot which he allegedly decided to kill so as to be at peace in the house. In turn, it was hard for his wife to tolerate the “sinful” act of his husband that it is alleged that, she decided to retaliate what he had done to the parrot.
The story also teaches the readers how they are supposed to relate to each other. When the two women were trying to unravel the mystery behind the suicide, they confessed that a long time had passed since they visited their friend’s house due to some “silly” reasons. When Mrs. Hale was asked by Mrs. Peters if Mrs. Wright had a parrot, she responded “I’ve not been here for so long. There was a man around last year selling canaries cheap, but I don’t know if she took one; maybe she did. She used to sing real pretty herself”. By responding that way, there was a man who was selling canaries last year and Mrs. Wright could have decided to buy one, it shows that it may be longer than a year since Mrs. Hale visited Mrs. Wright with whom they were neighbours! After unravelling the mystery of the murder, it made them curse themselves because they did not visit their friends often.
Lastly, the story teaches men not to despise women. This is revealed by the fact that, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters had good evidence that could be used to link Mrs. Wright to the murder of her husband. But, due to the male superiority complex and despise to women, they decided to hide it so as to stay away from being mocked. They later cheated the county attorney that, a cat could have snatched the parrot and gone away with it.
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