Trifles Questions and Answers
by Susan Glaspell

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Explain why the men and women are kept separate—physically, intellectually, and emotionally—in Susan Glaspell's play, Trifles.

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The separation of the men and women in the play—physically, intellectually, and emotionally—reflects the different spheres of life into which men and women in rural America were separated in the early twentieth century. The play is a sharp critique of that separation.

Separating Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters from their husbands to be alone and in a different room helps highlight the way women "see" differently from men. The women focus on what the men dismiss as "trifles"—but it is in such details that the mystery of Mr. Wright's murder can be unravelled.

What the men dismiss as trifles of no consequence are centerpieces in a woman's life: her housekeeping, her preserving of fruit, her bread baking, and her pet. What happens in this arena is all-important to a woman because it defines her existence. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters understand that, and the men simply don't.

It is this failure of communication and failure of men to value woman's experience that leads to Mr. Wright's death. If...

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