The women in Trifles look at the work of a farm wife through a different lens than the men do. One example of this comes out when the country attorney, George Henderson, is dismissive and insulting about Mrs. Wright's kitchen being in a disarray. He says she is not much...
The women in Trifles look at the work of a farm wife through a different lens than the men do. One example of this comes out when the country attorney, George Henderson, is dismissive and insulting about Mrs. Wright's kitchen being in a disarray. He says she is not much of a homemaker, but Mrs. Hale, knowing how hard the life of a farm woman is, defends her peer. When the attorney notes the dirty towel roll in the Wright's kitchen, blaming Mrs. Wright for it, Mrs. Hale counters by blaming the men. The passage showing the interchange is below:
Dirty towels! (kicks his foot against the pans under the sink) Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies?
MRS HALE: (stiffly) There's a great deal of work to be done on a farm.
COUNTY ATTORNEY: To be sure. And yet (with a little bow to her) I know there are some Dickson county farmhouses which do not have such roller towels. (He gives it a pull to expose its length again.)
MRS HALE: Those towels get dirty awful quick. Men's hands aren't always as clean as they might be.
COUNTY ATTORNEY: Ah, loyal to your sex, I see.
In the Wright kitchen, Mr. Hale dismisses women's concerns as "trifles" because the women are worried about Mrs. Wright's ruined cherry preserves. He says:
Well, women are used to worrying over trifles.
Later, when the men have left, Mrs. Hale says to Mrs. Peters about the preserves:
She'll [Minnie] feel awful bad after all her hard work in the hot weather. I remember the afternoon I put up my cherries last summer.
The men can easily dismiss the work of making preserves as trifling because they don't have to do it: it is woman's work. The women, however, know how hard it is boiling the fruit in a hot kitchen because they have to do it every summer.
Gender roles make it much easier for the women to reconstruct what happened to Minnie; they are better able to understand why she snapped. Gender roles also make it easy for men to dismiss the woman's point of view and overlook crucial evidence that the women see.