DiscussionQuestions on Triflesby Susan Glaspell
InTrifles,Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters start as strangers until the incident thatbrings them closer to each other and by the end of the play, theycollude to cover up Mrs. Wright’s crime. The women are depicted ashaving comparable and contrasting traits, yet their discovery ofMinnie Wright’s culpability prompts them to revisit their beliefsand subsequently, empathize with Minnie’s situation. When they areleft alone, the two women reflect on their individual experiences inmarriage contextualized in a patriarchal society, bringing them tothe realization that they all have experienced similar circumstancesand maybe, they would act in a similar manner if situations werereversed (Glaspell and McEwen 981). The mutual comprehension of theirguilt in Minnie`s is eventuality what binds them together and drivestheir decision to protect her from the men. Their different behaviorin the presence and absence of the men illustrates the adverse effectof chauvinistic social norms and the desire for women to carve outtheir individual identities away from the one imposed on them throughmarriage and a male dominated society.
Abetter approach to determining whether justice is served in the playwould be to examine whether the two women’s actions are justified.From this perspective, justice is served through their decision toprotect Minnie Wright. Minnie has undergone severe emotional abuse inthe hands of her husband, a fact which would have been ignored if thetwo women had chosen to report her (Glaspell and McEwen 985). Itwould have been unjust for Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale to turn Minnieover to the law. They were, in all sense, a "jury of her peers"and better placed to understand and arbitrate her predicament. IfMinnie was arrested, she would not undergo a fair trial with theskewness of the law towards men in the early twentieth century.Certainly, the law would not have considered the mitigatingcircumstances (emotional abuse and killing of the bird) that droveMinnie to kill Mr. Wright.
Glaspell,Susan, and Rolf McEwen. Trifles.1st ed., N Charleston, SC, Createspace Independent PublishingPlatform, 2016.