Can someone explain how the men perceive themselves, and whether or not their perceptions are accurate in Glaspell's Trifles?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Glaspell's Trifles, the men perceive themselves as superior people; this is, however, an inaccurate statement.

Susan Glaspell portrays the play's male characters as men who see only their own perspectives, with little attention paid to the women. We first see this when the men descend upon the house with no regard for the women and the work they do.

In Glaspell's play, the men are preoccupied with finding clues about John Wright's murder, clues that will convict his wife, Minnie, of the crime. While the men root around the house, the women look at what Minnie has left behind. Among the materials, Minnie has left a broken bird cage. The cage is empty; upon searching for a bird, the women discover the dead body of the small bird. It is in this context that the women realize that John physically abused Minnie. She is responsible for her husband's death.

I suppose she felt she couldn't do her part, and then you don't enjoy things when you feel shabby. She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir. But that -- oh, that was thirty years ago. This all you was to take in?

We discover that Minnie is blameless in her husband's death. In this situation, Minnie is not to be faulted for what she has done: it would seem that she has murdered her husband after he killed her pet canary. It is easy to see that she had nothing to do with infuriating her husband.

Mr. Henderson said coming out that what was needed for the case was a motive; something to show anger, or -- sudden feeling. 

Minnie Foster Wright does all she can to avoid frustrating her husband.

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