In Susan Glaspell's one-act play, Trifles, what does Glaspell show us about the position of women in this early twentieth century community?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The primary revelation that we gain from the play is how women and their voices are marginalized.  The women in the play are not seen as capable or worthy of being able to construct any type of knowledge that could help to solve the crime. The flip side to this point is that the women in the play actually end up representing more stellar investigative techniques than the men who are established police officers.  This helps to show not only how women are disrespected in the current social order, but reveals as to how dangerous this could be because it silences voices that could part of productive solutions.  In this light, Glaspell's play shows the practice of discrimination and denigration that is both inefficient and wrong.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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It shows us that there was no position for women to speak their minds, give their opinions, nor express their worries because they are seen and not heard. They also always followed their husbands around. This was a way of telling us that women were to be shadows of their husbands, and not leaders in any way. Minnie, herself, was judged entirely on the basis on how unkempt her home looked, how her kitchen was not well-equipped, and how badly everything was taken care of. Had she been in a different situation, certainly she would have had a cheerful, clean, and happy-looking home, but the men in the story dismissed everything that was clearly in front of them as trifles, and the conversation of the woman as nonsensical.

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