Views from Our Past
Born into a male dominated society, during an era that lawfully treated men and women unequally, men treated women with a lack of consideration for their thoughts, opinions, and job choices (Yearley). Providing us with a look into how society worked, as if we live during her time, Glaspell writes a powerful one-scene play, Trifles. Davis M. Galens talks about how Glaspell wrote how Trifles was loosely based upon a real-life story she reported on for the Des Moines News, 1899-1901. Glaspell uses symbolism to illustrate the sexism and lack of compassion, leading to men and women’s failures.
In the opening of the scene, Glaspell begins to demonstrate the different and damaging stereotypes of men and women. Upon entering the home of Mrs. Wright, the men go directly to the stove and “the women have come in slowly, and stand close together near the door” (Glaspell). While standing at the stove, Hale tells the County Attorney and the Sherriff how he had knocked the day before, and waited until he thought he had heard someone ask him to come in (Glaspell). Now that Mr. Wright is dead, Mr. Hale has no quandary in barging into the home the next day (Glaspell). This illustrates the men have a complete lack of sympathy for Mrs. Wright, while also displaying that the women still hold Mrs. Wrights right to privacy as something to honor, clearly displaying the differing opinion between men and women upon women’s rights.
As Glaspell continues to write, she uses the shrinking space between Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters as a symbol of their growing bond. These two women never refer to each other with their first names; symbolizing that the two women are not familiar with each other. However, when Mr. Hale jokes about how the “women are used to worrying over trifles,” the two move closer two each other (Glaspell). Phyllis Mael writes about how neither one may have made this decision alone but, “. . . a web of sisterhood is woven. . .” when the canary...