Trifles By Susan Glaspell Rhetorical Analysis

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Little nothings, busy work, trifles are all a respectable lady is good for socially and mentally that is all they can wrap their minds around. That, at least, has been the case for most of society’s history, including 1916, the year in which Susan Glaspell called attention to this warped viewpoint and passive aggressively insinuated its faults. Using physical symbols of emotional and mental distress, juxtaposition, and irony between the two groups’ missions and interactions, Susan Glaspell challenges the status quo of men being superior to women intelligence-wise and socially within the play “Trifles.” A mysteriously empty bird cage, an unfinished quilt, and a mess of sticky fruit; all just evidence of the trifles of poor housekeeping and an inattentive wife of course! At least that is what they are passed off as by the group of men searching for evidence that Mrs. Wright murdered her husband in his sleep. The two women, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, are intrigued by these miniscule details, and despite the criticism of their husbands pursue the meanings of these. The empty bird cage just…show more content…
The exact things the men write off as the trifles of a woman’s mind are the very things that tie the case together and give them motive for the murder of Mr. Wright. The women aren’t even trying to solve the case, they are just empathizing with Mrs. Wright’s lifestyle of isolation, going from “wear[ing] pretty clothes and being of the town girls singing in the church choir” to not “even belong[ing] to the Ladies’ Aid” (lines 157-159). Mrs. Hale recognizes that “you don’t enjoy things when you feel shabby,” just as Mrs. Wright must have, asking for an apron to cover up her lackluster dress and lack of liveliness (line 158). The men oozing superiority in every way fail to notice these details and the trifles written off as the inferior business of a woman’s mind is the connection they are searching for and failing to

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