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What is the tone projected by the male characters toward the female characters? How...

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vargas1978 | eNoter

Posted June 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM via web

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What is the tone projected by the male characters toward the female characters? How would you describe it?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 22, 2010 at 9:34 PM (Answer #1)

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In Susan Glapell's "Trifles," the male tone is one of condescension: they belittle the females directly and indirectly.

Observe the County Attorney's mention of the mess in the kitchen: it is an objective correlative of how he likely feels toward most women and women's work.

(The County Attorney, after again looking around the kitchen, opens the door of a cupboard closet. He gets up on a chair and looks on a shelf. Pulls his hand away, sticky.)

COUNTY ATTORNEY. Here's a nice mess.

The men are also confused by women, namely Mrs. Wright, the suspect.  They have difficulty reading her obvious signs of guilt.  This shows there are marked communication problems between men and women (no phone line).  Observe Hale's testimony regarding Minnie:

HALE. she moved from that chair to this over here... (Pointing to a small chair in the corner)...and just sat there with her hand held together and looking down. I got a feeling that I ought to make some conversation, so I said I had come in to see if John wanted to put in a telephone, and at that she started to laugh, and then she stopped and looked at me--scared.

This shows he (and most males) have no idea how to talk to women.  When they do attempt conversation, they use only small talk.  Again, this is very condescending.

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