Do the plays "Overtones" and "Trifles" conform or resist tradional gender roles?
I don't see either work capitulating to traditional notions of gender roles. I see both as presenting a complex and different portrait of what it means to be a woman and what can be entailed in such a definition. The depictions seen in both works are ones that help to redefine the vision of women and add layers to its complexity. They are not reductive and singular visions that seek to pigeon hole women into convenient roles that empower patriarchal configurations of power. The battle of the warring visions of consciousness in Gersternberg's play helps to bring out that women, like all human beings, are complex. They are not figures for whom anyone can "think for them," as well as detracting from the intricacies within the human psyche. While there is not an outward cry for change wihtin the work, there is a condition that makes it clear that women suffer when their voice is negated or denied. For Glaspell's work, there is a bit more proactivity about how women can be as productive, if not more, than men. In the end, both works seek to create a vision of women that is different than traditional depictions and helps to add richness and vitality to the predicament of being a women in the modern setting.
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