Can someone explain how the women 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 drama, Trifles, the women perceive themselves ultimately as victims. They are pushed around and taken advantage of. As the women gather to pick up materials for Minnie Wright (who is in jail for the murder of her husband), Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters have very different perceptions of themselves. Mrs. Hale sees herself as a moderate person who has firm control of her emotions; Mrs. Peters sees herself as a woman who supports the law in all its various forms.

MRS. HALE. Well, I don't see any signs of anger around here…

Wonder how they are finding things upstairs. I hope she had it a little more red-up up there. You know, it seems kind of sneaking. Locking her up in town and then coming out here and trying to get her own house to turn against her!

MRS. PETERS. But Mrs. Hale, the law is the law. 

Mrs. Hale believes that she has a firm grip on reality, and she is slow to deviate from that path. She finds numerous reasons to support her husband's viewpoint. Mrs. Hale is realistic in her expectations: she is a firm supporter of her husband, and yet she cannot fail to support Minnie at the story's end. 

MRS. HALE.  It's her log cabin pattern. Pretty, isn't it? I wonder if she was goin' to quilt it or just knot it?

SHERIFF.  They wonder if she was going to quilt it or just knot it! [The men laugh, the women look abashed.]

... [The men go outside.]

MRS. HALE.  I don't know as there's anything so strange, our takin' up our time with little things while we're waiting for them to get the evidence. I don't see as it's anything to laugh about.


Of course they've got awful important things on their minds. 

In all, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are strongly interested in proving Minnie's innocence. They struggle with doing the right thing, but are particularly supportive of Minnie when it's necessary.

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