Trifles By Susan Glaspell Analysis

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“Trifles” written by Susan Glaspell explores the oppressive nature of an enduring patriarchal hierarchy coinciding with the extensive psychological damage solidarity imposed on farmers’ wives throughout the 20th century; Glaspell utilized the symbol/image of a bird to juxtapose/compare/contrast the death of Mrs. Wright’s canary to the death of Mrs. Wright’s soul. Denotatively a bird is defined as, any of a class (Aves) of warm-blooded vertebrates distinguished by having the body more or less completely covered with feathers and the forelimbs modified as wings, often capable of flying (Britannica, Bird). Glaspell’s strategic comparison of Mrs. Wright to a bird can be interpreted connotatively that she was a free, pretty and slight young woman,…show more content…
However, Mrs. Wright’s life deprived her of the opportunity to emulate her own ‘birdlike’ qualities, she has arguably lost her wings and ability to fly. Consequently, the by-product of extensive solidarity Mrs. Wright endured is arguably a driving force that oppressed her innate ‘birdlike’ demeanour. Therefore, Glaspell is commenting on the repressive nature of her life that her husband has imposed on her, she is no longer lively and sweet, but rather indifferent and stagnant in the lonely desolate farmhouse. Furthermore, the image of a bird connotes such associations of prettiness, flightiness, fragility, softness, and autonomy, thus the death of Mrs. Wright’s canary can be interpreted as the death of both her beloved possession that provided her with some degree of liveliness within a very gloomy, depressing home, while paralleling the death of the…show more content…
Wright as a bird is suggestive to the social structure during the 1900’s. Glaspell’s use of the image of a bird can be understood as a critique of the injustices of this time, suggesting that the preservation of a patriarchal structure within the household can have dire consequences for women. A bird is often thought of as “timid and fluttery” (Glaspell, 10), encouraging obedience within the household. Therefore, those women who defied this norm contradicted this traditional society, for example Mrs. Hale who was patronized for her trifles, but ironically was the only character successful in finding the gold box with the dead canary signifying a potential motive for Mr. Wright’s death. Although, it is unclear if Mrs. Wright did in fact kill her husband, but perhaps the overbearing monotony and loneliness she endured caused her to change from “sweet and pretty’ (Glaspell, 10) to a flightless and indifferent in effort to escape from the psychological turmoil she underwent. Thus, this play highlights a major division between men and women, elevating both the social and intellectual status of men over women. In addition, because of the connotative interpretation of a bird, Glaspell denotes that Mrs. Wright was taken advantage because of her birdlike qualities and that this social commentary is suggestive that as women, it is imperative that we begin challenge this hierarchy. In order to protect women from a regressive social structure that

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