Gender Roles In Trifles And A Streetcar Named Desire

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Trifles, written by Susan Glaspell, and A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams are two seemingly contrasting works, with somewhat similar underlying messages and themes. Trifles was written in 1916, whereas Streetcar was written in 1947. Significant shifts in society, in ideals, and in America as a whole occurred between these two eras and those transformations can be seen through the differences in these two plays. Trifles is set in a period where women were of little importance and lived mostly domestic lifestyles. On the other hand, Streetcar takes place after women began to occupy a more noticeable place in society, as well as have more rights. Gender roles and power struggles are prominent themes in both of these works and help…show more content…
In Streetcar, Stella’s ignorance of Blanche’s wrongdoings and lies is pointed out by Stanley, which gives him the power of knowledge over Stella. Additionally, Blanche is not mentally well and emotionally incompetent. Not only does Stanley take advantage of her unstable mental state by emotionally and physically abusing her, Stella uses her diminished mental aptitude to send her away to an insane asylum. The characters who possess more knowledge and a higher degree of intelligence are the ones who have power and control of the others. Similarly, in Trifles, the men treat the women as if they are mentally inferior and incapable of thinking intelligently. Whenever the women speak, the men discount what they say as if it is not important and make fun of the women for the stupidity of their comments. Ironically, the women have more knowledge about what happened with the murder of Mr. Wright than the men do and happily assume the role of being oblivious in order to protect Mrs. Wright from conviction. Despite the changing roles of women from 1916 to 1947, they were still taken advantage of and perceived as mentally inferior to men, making women the weaker sex because they apparently were not as

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