Homework Help

What is the meaning of the title of Tifles by Glaspell?

user profile pic

kmcgrath8 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 15, 2009 at 2:06 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the meaning of the title of Tifles by Glaspell?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 15, 2009 at 8:20 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Trifles or insignificant acts with little or no real meaning is exactly the opposite of what goes on in the play "Trifles."   The author makes a statement about the treatment of women in society.

‘‘Glaspell intended to show that women in the domestic sphere were vulnerable to the brutality of men like John Wright, but she also dramatizes the powerful sense of solidarity women shared and assumes that this solidarity was somehow responsible for superior female morality.’’

The world of women is reduced to the activities of the farmhouse which are trifles or insignificant in the world of men.  The plot revolves around the acute awareness of the women in this play who are much smarter than the men who fail to notice clues that the women pick up because the men don't pay attention to the activities of housework or women's work, they are trifles, not important.

"In simple terms, Trifles suggests that men tend to be aggressive, brash, rough, analytical and self-centered; in contrast, women are more circumspect, deliberative, intuitive, and sensitive to the needs of others. It is these differences that allows Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale to find the clues needed to solve the crime, while their husbands miss the same clues."

The title draws attention to women's issues, suggesting that all issues relating to women in this period, 1916, were considered trifles.  Women fought for decades to secure the right to vote, which did not come until 1920. 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes