“Trifles,” by Susan Glaspell, shows how women are oppressed by a patriarchal system. Mrs. Wright, once beautiful and charming, is discredited in many ways by her husband in a male-dominated society. Men look at women as inferior and incapable of doing tasks other than what they deem suitable. Males perform “important” duties while women worry about “petty things”, or “trifles”. Women are robbed of their identities and personalities by following their husbands’ ideals; they do not speak their own ideas or interfere with the males’ duties. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, neighbors of Mrs. Wright, reflect how she was once beautiful and joyful before her marriage, showing how she is suppressed by Mr. Wright and other men.
Oppression is a constant theme in the story “Trifles.” Glaspell uses dialogue which displays the demeaning view the men have for women. Mr. Hale, a neighboring farmer, declares that "women are used to worrying over trifles," showing how the many tasks that women are responsible for are unrecognized. The sheriff jokes with the other men, “They wonder if she was going to quilt it or just knot it,” the men laugh while the women feel ashamed (Glaspell 840). Men make a mockery of women, in spite of their degrading comments and actions.
Men throughout “Trifles” are arrogant and conceited. They believe that everything important revolves around them. They leave their wives downstairs to collect a few of Mrs. Wright's things for her as they deal with the “important” things (Thomas 1). They have no remorse and do not see women as equal; instead men treat their wives as servants and maids, with no intellectual qualities. Women are material possessions to men since their feelings and rights are not relevant. Men are unconditionally ignorant to the power of women.
The women in the story are submissive to men, and play a subordinate role in society (Smith 1). However, the women are very smart and manipulative; they...