Read the play Trifles by Susan Glaspell.  Look at the District Attorney and at the relationship of the Wrights.See how they are characterized. How does this characterization reflect the history of...

Read the play Trifles by Susan Glaspell.  Look at the District Attorney and at the relationship of the Wrights.

See how they are characterized. How does this characterization reflect the history of the 1916?

Asked on by fayth81098

2 Answers | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

A key factor you need to focus on when considering this question is how the relationship of the Wrights acts as a kind of symbol of gender relations of this period in general. Of course, your study of gender relations as they are presented in this play should not merely focus on the Wrights and their relationship, but also on the interactions and relationships between Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale and the males in the play, and in particular the assumptions that are made by the men about the women.

Focussing on the relationship between John and Minnie Wright, look closely at how Mrs. Hale describes Minnie before her marriage with John:

She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing int he choir. But that - oh, that was thirty years ago.

Then later she says:

She - come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself - real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and - fluttery. How - she - did - change.

Notice how the dashes in the last sentence really emphasises the pity and shock felt at the transformation of Minnie. Mrs. Hale presents a picture of a kind, lovely and sensitive woman who is then oppressed and constricted by her marriage to John Wright, who Mrs. Hale describes as being "close" and says:

But he was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to pass the time of day with him. (Shivers) Like a raw wind that gets to the bone.

The assumption that John Wright killed the bird, who, as established above, can be said to symbolically represent Minnie, shows us the reality of their marriage. Minnie's personality was crushed and strangled by John Wright - she wasn't allowed to go out at all, and he didn't let her buy any nice clothes. This allows Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters to piece together the motive for the crime, that they then hide from the menfolk in a moving act of solidarity with Mrs. Wright. The arrogance of men is therefore represented, as is the very secret and private world of women that men cannot enter, penetrate, or "read" in the way that the women clearly can.

mamalion2009's profile pic

mamalion2009 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Due to the limitation in time, i may not have the complete understanding of the play. However, as far as i know, John and Mini's relationship were secret lovers. 

In the early history of the 1916, a woman involved with a married man that was a very serious crime. To commit adultry was never be tolerable by the society. Especially women would receive strictly punishment according to the law back then.

We’ve answered 318,960 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question