How is the theme of sisterhood depicted in Susan Glaspell's play Trifles?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By showing the basic differences in how men and women think, act, and relate to others, Glaspell gives the reader a picture of sisterhood. The women are there to get things for the woman accused of killing her husband. As their husbands come in and out of the scene, the differences between the two genders are made obvious.

Overall, Glaspell shows us that men are aggressive, self-centered, and rough. Women are more sensitive, circumspect, and intuitive. These differences enable Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale to know exactly what happened in the home of the accused. Their husbands, however, leave the scene feeling there are no clues to be found.

The men look for obvious clues, while the women notice the little things, the "trifles". The women are able to find the dead bird and the damaged birdcage and piece together the events leading to the death of the husband. The men patronizingly dismiss their wives' ideas. The women are sensitive to the isolation and loneliness Mrs. Wright felt because they've been there before themselves. They understand why she would have been driven to murder when John Wright took away the only thing Mrs. Wright had to keep her company. As a gesture of their sisterhood, the two women hide the bird and the birdcage, knowing they would help convict Mrs. Wright. Because of this, she will most likely be found innocent of her husband's murder.