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TRIFLES (Susan Glaspel, American; 1882-1948)- DRAMA

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QUESTIONS:

  1. Briefly describe the setting, indicating what it “says” and what atmosphere it evokes.
  2. How would you characterize Mr. Henderson, the country attorney?
  3. In what way or ways are Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale different from each other?
  4. On page 647, “The women’s eyes meet for an instant.” What do you think this bit of action “says”? What do you understand by the exchange of glances?
  5. Do you thing the play is immoral? Explain!

ANSWER:

  1. Glaspell conveys the setting in three realms:  domain (kitchen) time (era), regional and (geographical)

Setting: Domain (kitchen)

The kitchen in the now abandoned farmhouse of John Wright, a gloomy kitchen, and left without having been put in order–unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread outside the bread-box, a dish-towel on the table–other signs of incompleted work.

In the opening of the drama we can see that the setting is located in the kitchen.but what happened to the kitchen? It’s a gloomy kitchen. It indicates the situation in John Wright house that is gloomy. We know that kitchen is a domain place for women in that era. This drama published in 1916. In that era, women’s domain is limited to the home and primarily the kitchen. They don’t play an important situation. Even women in the United States had not been granted the right to vote and also could not sit on juries.   Males dominated all aspects of life at this time, except for caring of the home and children.  Women were “decorative, useful in the home, but that’s all”.

Incomplete work indicates that Ms. Wright is incompetence housekeeper. She let her kitchen messy and it’s not good to see. It might she let it messy in the case of her duty as a wife is gone because her husband died.

MRS. HALE I’d hate to have men coming into my kitchen, snooping around and criticising.

[She arranges the pans under sink which the Lawyer had shoved out of place.

We can see through Mrs. Hale speech that it’s a kind of feminism speech. As we know in that era is an era Susan Glaspel is feminism genre. The speech indicates that the man in that era used to snooping and criticizing. Criticizing is a bad idea when the man see him self as the most important human in the world and they forget about human right for the woman. The woman just as a “Decorative” and that’s why Mrs. Hale hate to have men coming into her kitchen. The underlying thrust of the play in this case is the pitting of the men against the women, both intellectually (their ability to solve the murder) and domain wise (the men do all of their investigating everywhere but in the kitchen – solely the woman’s domain).

SHERIFF [Looking about.] It’s just the same. When it dropped below zero last night I thought I’d better send Frank out this morning to make a fire for us–no use getting pneumonia with a big case on, but I told him not to touch anything except the stove

we can see that the setting of the place is on the winter time. “When it dropped zero last night”…. Glaspel is a great writer. She tend to use the sentence which indicates it’s setting implicitly rather than explicitly by using the word “Winter” in her script. She use that sentence to explain the character it self like the sheriff in this case.

  1. Mr. Henderson is a type of serious-minded detectives. He treats the woman in to not good atmosphere so the two women are scare. It makes the women hide the evidence “the bird” which they found in the kitchen. He doesn’t give a chance to the woman to use their idea about the case. Because of his character, the important evident is hidden. It indicates the way he thinking about him self that his intellectual is upper the women that he can solve the case.
  2. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are differs in the way of their thinking and their life experience. Mrs. Peter is a kind of soft woman because of her experience before. She loose her child when her child was 2 years old. It makes her know how to feel in stillness when we are lifted by someone that we love. She understands what Mr. Wright feels as what she has felt. In giving a speech she uses to think using her consideration. In contrast with Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Hale is a little bit hard woman but in fact she is a sympathy woman. The way she speaks, she tends to care for Mrs. Wright and know the ways she solve the problem. She lied first about the “bird” where in fact she hides it. A typical of care women, and speech with a little consideration but act full of consideration.
  3. On page 647, “The women’s eyes meet for an instant”

What happened to this action? This small action indicates the scheme to the women. They surprise to the County attorney speech :

COUNTY ATTORNEY No, Peters, it’s all perfectly clear except a reason for doing it. But you know juries when it comes to women. If there was some definite thing. Something to show–something to make a story about–a thing that would connect up with this strange way of doing it–

The women realize that they are wrong in hide the evidence. But they must keep it in order to save Mrs. Wright. They know at the time county attorney speech about “Something to show—something to make a story about”. What’s that? It’s the canary bird that they hide. They still don’t know weather Mrs. Wright kill the bird or Mr. Wright that did it. So they must hide in in the two considerations.

  1. The play is immoral because of man treating to the woman.

The attorney and sheriff decide that there is nothing important in the room: “Nothing here but kitchen things.”

 

(Feminist Criticism Hint: This line is the first of many disparaging comments said to minimize the importance of women in society.) The men criticize Mrs. Wright’s housekeeping skills, irking Mrs. Hale and the sheriff’s wife, Mrs. Peters.

What Mr. Henderson did to the woman is not a good attitudes for treating the woman like that, as in the years the drama published in 1916 where the women just as a “decorative” things. What he thinks about the two women is they are unimportant part to this case. They will not know about this case so far where in fact they found the important evidence.  He doesn’t give a chance and a faith for the two woman to make this case more easily to finished. So, In this drama we can find that man just self-important things and it as an immoral thing.


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