In Trifles, what does the author imply about the differences in which men and women view the world?

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

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This is clearly a play which has much to do with the differences between the sexes, and in particular the rather limited role of women at the time of this play. However, if we examine the title of this play and how it is used to explore these differences, we can also see what the author is suggesting about the unique differences between the perspective of men and women in this play.

It is when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are talking about her fruit and the preserving that Mrs. Wright was doing when she was taken to jail that the title of this play is used in the dialogue. The County Attorney, with his lips pressed firmly together, says:

I guess before we're through she may have something more serious than preserves to worry about.

In response, Mr. Hale says, "Well, women are used to worying over trifles." Notice the way in which this patronising comment deliberately pushes women down and suggests that the proper sphere of women is to devote themselves to such "trifles" as the domestic sphere and the organisation of the kitchen, whilst the men therefore engage in much more important and worthy matters. The irony in this play is that it is the women and their knowledge of such "trifles" that manage to find the clue and piece together what happened. The play thus comments on the way that a man's perspective is bigger and broader than the way in which the woman's role is focused on the domestic sphere alone.

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