Good Example Of Essay On The Effects Of Patriarchal Dominance In Trifles

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Trifles, Women, Birds, Men, Gender, Family, Social Issues, Law

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/02

Women have long fought against patriarchal dominance in societies around the world. Whether experiencing gender inequality in work, at home, or in society, the battle against sexism and discrimination has been a long and continuous struggle. In Trifles, Susan Glaspell meets these conflicts head on to challenge gender stereotypes and gender inequality. Penned in 1916, Trifles stands against patriarchal domination at a time when women were fighting for their right to vote and have their voices heard (Fisher and Silber). Glaspell contrasts the women’s concerns and compassion with the matter-of-fact dismissal and outright ridicule by the men to highlight the idea that patriarchal dominance harms both women and men.
The bird is more than a lost pet in Trifles; in fact, the bird symbolizes Mrs. Wright. When telling Mrs. Peters about Mrs. Wright in her youth, Mrs. Hale states that she used to be “real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and—fluttery” and that she had a pretty singing voice when she sang in the choir (Glaspell). She even mentions that Mrs. Wright is afraid of cats to further the connection. By having Mrs. Hale compare Mrs. Wright to a bird numerous times, Glaspell solidifies the idea that the bird represents Mrs. Wright’s spirit. The introduction of the bird also opens the door to set the scene for the next revelation.
Everything the women reveal shows how out of place Mrs. Wright was in the home. Mrs. Peters helps contrasts her against the gloom of the home by stating that it “seems funny to think of a bird here” (Glaspell). Mrs. Hale goes on to say that she never liked the place because it always felt lonesome and wasn’t cheerful. All of the descriptions of Mrs. Wright show that she would have felt the same way. Ultimately, the home was like a prison for Mrs. Wright and her husband was in complete control of her (Alkalay-Gut). Mrs. Wright was the caged bird and she had no way to escape (Alkalay-Gut).
The death of the bird symbolizes how Mr. Wright attacked his own wife and killed her spirit (Sutton). Mrs. Hale says it best: “She used to sing. He killed that, too” (Glaspell). The bird’s killing also alludes to Mrs. Wright’s choice of murder weapon: her husband strangled her bird, so she strangled her husband (Sutton). The women understand this because they “all go through the same things” in different ways (Glaspell). In other words, it could have been either one of them to commit the same act if they’d been married to Mr. Wright (Alkalay-Gut). As women, they both understand Mrs. Wright’s plight because they live it, too, in their own ways by having no power against the men in their lives (Alkalay-Gut).
On the same token, the men in Trifles show how patriarchy undermines the male gender as well. Despite having clues right under their noses, the men never pick up on the important things that the women see, and since they feel superior to the opposite sex, they would never think to ask for their assistance or thoughts. In fact, women would be more likely to understand Mrs. Wright’s motivation because of their similarities. The County Attorney, however, does not see this because he believes the women can add nothing of importance to the case. By perpetuating gender stereotyping and discrimination, the men of the play do themselves no favors, and instead of figuring out the truth, they wind up with a dead-end case. Rather than using their gender to show superiority, the men would be smart to make friends instead of enemies. After all, if Mrs. Hale will be “loyal to [her] sex” regarding kitchen cleanliness, she will most likely back other women regarding more important things in life (Glaspell).
Susan Glaspell tackles a serious social issue in Trifles and shows that gender inequality is problematic for women and men. At a time when women had no say in politics or government, Glaspell used her play to comment on gender inequality and abuse of women. Mrs. Wright may not have suffered more than emotional and psychological abuse, and she may have not been justified in murdering her husband; however, the patriarchal dominance that allowed her abuse was not justified, and her fellow women knew there was no other recourse if evidence was found. Because of men’s superiority in their society and in the law, the women took justice into their own hands. Currently, women have protections under the law from abuse; however, Mrs. Wright did not. Society’s attitude toward women prevented justice for both Mr. and Mrs. Wright. In the end, inequality influences both sexes, and Trifles was ahead of its time in showing the consequences.

Works Cited

Alkalay-Gut, Karen. "Jury Of Her Peers: The Importance Of Trifles." Studies In Short Fiction 21.1 (1984): 1. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
Angel, Marina. "Susan Glaspell's Trifles and A Jury of Her Peers: Women Abuse in a Literary and Legal Context." Buffalo Law Review 45.3 (1997): 779. HeinOnline. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
Fisher, Jerilyn, and Ellen S. Silber. “Women Righting Wrongs: Morality and Justice in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles.” Women In Literature: Reading Through The Lens Of Gender. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003. eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
Glaspell, Susan. "Trifles." Plays. Fairbanks: Project Gutenburg, 7 Jan. 2004. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
Holstein, Suzy Clarkson. "Silent Justice In A Different Key: Glaspell's 'Trifles.'." Midwest Quarterly 44.3 (2003): 282. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
Sutton, Brian. ""A Different Kind of the Same Thing": Marie De France's LAÜSTIC and Glaspell's TRIFLES." The Explicator 66.3 (2008): 170-4. ProQuest. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.

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Good Example Of Essay On The Effects Of Patriarchal Dominance In Trifles. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 02, 2021. Accessed May 28, 2023.

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