For the longest time, females have always been considered to be the weaker sex. On the other hand, their counterparts, the males have remained dominant in very many fields and sectors. Leadership, education, job opportunities, and social status are some of the many fields that men have dominated over the years. The sad thing is that although their dominance is clear, their qualifications in the same are questionable. Their statuses and roles in the community are by being male and not necessarily deserved (Oliker, Stacey). Stories are told of women who are doing it big in the same sectors, yet they remain unacknowledged because of their gender. The virtue of being male was and is still subtly highly regarded by the community at the expense of suppressing and exploiting the female gender. Susan Glaspell was so infuriated by this way of life that she came up with the story Trifles to create awareness of the gender inequality.
The primary themes that Trifles expounds on is gender inequality. Under gender inequality, other minor themes are highlighted. Some of the subthemes include women roles in the family, isolation, spousal abuse, marital expectations, and love. Minnie, also known as Mrs. Wright was the accused killer of her husband. She is being held in custody at the country cell, and all fingers are pointed at her (Glaspell, Susan). From the jury to family and relatives, no one is willing to side with Minnie for allegedly killing her husband. However, what many people do not know is the fact that Minnie was an abused wife and there are a couple of reasons that might have led her to kill her husband.
However, at a time when women were to be seen and not heard, Minnie was not in a position to share her pain in the marriage. It was her duty to stay strong, and any form of resistance would be translated as being a bad wife. She quietly endured the suffering her husband put her through and carried on with her duties to raise the family. The worst thing is that her friends knew of her suffering and the whole story behind the crime but opted to remain silent throughout. Had the two women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters unveiled their side of the story, they would have provided very important clues and helped the case for Mrs. Wright (Smyth, Ines). However, since they were comfortable with their position in the society, they had made peace with the fact that they can be used and mistreated at the convenience of their husbands.
Under gender inequality, the theme of isolation is also evident. It is quite ironical that the only thing in common with all the three women is the isolation they felt from their husbands although Mrs. Wright was the only brave one to confess it. Mrs. Wright was isolated from the life of her husband and community in general. Lonely and abandoned in an isolated farmhouse, Mrs. Wright kept wishing for the better days and more life. Minnies marriage was a shackle, and it lacked the enthusiasm that once existed. The lonely life she led made her question love and its elements. Love is caring for one another and being there when they need you the most. Nonetheless, this was not the case with Minnie; she was like a widow and a stranger in her own house (Stets, Jan E.).
Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. 2010.
Oliker, Stacey. "Sociology and Studies Of Gender, Caregiving, And Inequality." Sociology Compass, vol 5, no. 11, 2011, pp. 968-983. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00417. x.
Smyth, Ines. "The Persistence of Gender Inequality." Gender & Development, vol 25, no. 2, 2017, pp. 348-350. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/13552074.2017.1332562.
Stets, Jan E. "Cohabiting and Marital Aggression: The Role Of Social Isolation." Journal of Marriage and The Family, vol 53, no. 3, 1991, p. 669. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/352742.
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