Women's "Trifles"

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Glaspell really seems to bring an overly feminist theme to the play.  Throughout the play, the men who are researching Mr. Wright's murder continually make fun of women for caring about things that do not seem important.  They poke fun at Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale for worrying about Mrs. Wright's preserves, and they do the same to Mrs. Wright for wanting an apron in prison.  The quote that sums this idea up is, "HALE: 'Well, women are used to worrying over trifles'" (Glaspell).  However, by the end of the play, the reader sees that because the women thought about the so called "trifles," they were able to discover both the killer and the motive for the murder.  The men, two of whom were experts in law enforcement and case investigation, were unable to find any type of motive.  The fact that Glaspell portrays the men as unintelligent shows how important the feminist movement was to Glaspell during this time period. 

Just as an aside, when I read the title "Trifles" and was trying to relate it to what we had read in Foster, I remembered that trifle is also a type of desert.  I looked up the definition of trifle at dictionary.com and found that one definition is as follows: "A dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake soaked in sherry, rum, or brandy and topped with layers of jam or jelly, custard, and whipped cream."  I thought it was very interesting that bread, alcohol and jam were all mentioned in the story.  I do not know if Glaspell did this intentionally or not, but thought it was an interesting coincidence.

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Greta Carroll said:

Erica, you make a good point. Glaspell might have been exaggerating slightly to push her own agenda. And that therefore, we as readers need to keep in mind that all her writings will be colored by her own beliefs. Thanks for the comment about that, it helped me look at the play in a little bit of a different way. Now I am more aware that how Glaspell portrayed the men is not necessary how it was.
As for the title of the play, that is a really good point that I had not thought about. The preserves were really emphasized and I’m betting that Glaspell knew very well what was in a trifle and did it intentionally.

Great observation on the word trifles. I never thought of that. Way to get inside the author's head. :)

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