Literary instruments are used in literature to communicate a specific meaning to the readers. These instruments are used to highlight points and make ideas more accessible to readers. Conflict as a literary device is most prominent in Susan Glaspell’s play, The Trifles. It reflects on the denial of fundamental rights to liberty and protection that all females demand in a male-dominated culture.
Gender conflicts are distinctly depicted in the play by the poet. Women are treated as trifles; they are unimportant and can only be found in kitchens. And, based on their behavior, men are regarded as vital members of society. However, the author argues on the roles played by women in the society and shows how knowledge and perspective are devalued in the society.
In this play, Susan clearly shows the subjugation of women by the male counter parts. There is the investigation of the murder of John Wright, and this shows the restrictions and social conflicts of women during the early 19th century. There is the conflict between husbands and their wives and this shows the high percentage of women who feel that following husbands is their main roles.
Additionally, there is a conflict between the murder investigators of John Wright and the women collecting some items for Mrs. Wright. This conflict began when women are left standing in the house door way as men “go at once to the stove” in order to warm themselves (1366). Susan Glaspell has used these men in order to represent how women are being left outside the business and social cycles. And when the women are invited to the fire by County Attorney, they denied the invitation (1367). This shows the feeling that in men’s business, women have no place.
There is also conflict arising between Mr. Wright and his wife. Susan Glaspell suggests that Mr. Wright was the main cause of her withdraw from the society. Mrs. Wright was not give an opportunity even to socialize with her female friends. And even though she was a very good singer in church, she changed drastically after being married. Mrs. Hale describes Mrs. Wright as someone who is lively and wearing pretty clothes and she says changes in Mrs. Wright attitude is as a result of Mr. Wright (1375). However, in the murder of Mr. Wright the author Susan Glaspell explains that despite women suffering, violence is not the answer.
This play shows plainly the conflict between the society and the women. The author expresses the way women are being exiled from the business and social circles in the society. This conflict shows the roles the society is expecting from women. Susan Glaspell uses young County Attorney in order to represent show a new concept of gender equality in the society. In the conflict between the older generation and the young County Attorney, it shows the use of Feminist Criticism by the author in order to describe the suffrage of women in a woman’s point of view.
Mael, Phyllis. “” Trifles”. The Path to Sisterhood.” Literature/Film Quarterly 17.4 (1989): 281.
Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. Kernerman Publishing Limited, 1992.
“The Gender Conflicts in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles.” Barbra Dozier’s Blog, barbradozier.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/the-gender-conflicts-in-susan-glaspells-trifles/.