Finding Flexibility in Trifles by Susan Glaspell
In the one-act play “Trifles,” playwright Susan Glaspell shows the inferior position of females in addition to their battles for an independent identity in a patriarchal society. This piece occurs in the domestic sphere represented by the kitchen area and welcomes an essential feminist subject according to oppression and female abilities during the early twentieth-century. Because the beginning of time the gendered roles put the lady in the kitchen, cooking and doing the chores while she was also anticipated to be a caretaker to her hubby and an excellent mom to her kids (Ferguson, p. 12).
Therefore women can doing these kinds of “trifles in contrast to guys who here are looking for tips in a murder case. Glaspell expresses with this play her anger about trivializing males, ironically showing their lack of knowledge to the ladies’s world while being blind running around and trying to find clues, the ladies fix the mystery with the assistance of some “trifles.” Mrs. Wright who is also called Minnie Foster eliminated her hubby to complimentary herself from the birdcage of her marital relationship, which is a major metaphor of the play that will be talked about in the following.
Minnie Wright embodies the view of the typical farmer housewife of that time who suffered the psychological abuse from her partner and her lost identity. The empty birdcage, which is found by Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale while doing some “trifles in the cooking area, offers some essential tips regarding to “a factor for doing it” (Glaspell, p. 262). In the first location a canary is bright in color and a little, sweetly singing finch. Absolutely nothing that would match with the solitary house as the Wrights had.
It symbolizes numerous things that Minnie Foster has actually lost with her marital relationship to John Wright now living in her quiet farmer house without kids. According to her difficult guy who oppresses her and could not empathize her delight of living, Minnie must have been a miserable and unfortunately silent life with John so she used up the bird just to pass the time with. “The canary’s voice was to displace the silence of a coldly authoritarian hubby and change the sounds of the coming kids” (Makowsky, p. 62). Given that the bird could fill a space in her life she started to enjoy it like a own kid and to determine herself with it.
The little bird was like Minnie before she was married to John Wright. Mrs. Hale explains her as a “kind of like a bird herself-real sweet and pretty, but kind of shy and-fluttery.” (Glaspell, p. 259) Speaking about her function in the neighborhood the two ladies remember her being pleasant in her youth and “used to wear quite clothing and be dynamic, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir.” (Glaspell, p. 257) Here one can see that on one hand Minnie has actually lost her identity to her spouse who doesn’t allow her more practices anymore.
And on the other hand her identity connected to that of the canary worrying the colorful clothes, which resemble the plumes of a canary or the enthusiasm to sing. And now due to her marital relationship to John, those characteristics reduced and she does not “enjoy things when [she] feel shoddy” (Glaspell, p. 257). The bird was caged simply as Minnie is caught in the unpleasant relationship to John. After discovering the strangled bird, the two females conclude that, “Wright would not like the bird– a thing that sang. She utilized to sing.
He eliminated that, too” (Glaspell, p. 261). As an admirer of complete silence, John kills it and put an end to the only joyful thing in the house. Her marital relationship suffocated her joy when she stopped singing simply as the bird stopped singing after Mr. Wright eliminated it. Minnie positioned the dead bird in her scissor box and wraps it in her finest and most costly material, a sign for her strong love for it. She treated the bird as her child singing to it and taking care of it as the only thing she enjoyed which loved her back.
One can argue that: “Through the standard literary metaphor of the bird’s tune as the voice of the soul, the women acknowledge that John Wright not only eliminated Minnie’s canary, but her very spirit” (Makowsky, p. 62) Finally, she returns the action to her other half and liberates herself from John by killing him, signified by the damaged bird cage as argued by Alkalay-Gut: “Minnie comprehended her hubby’s action as a symbolic strangling of herself … it is not just because he eliminated the bird, however because Minnie herself was a caged bird … and he strangled her by preventing her from interacting with others” (Alkalay-Gut, p. In this case the greater crime is to take someone’s freedom away and to left absolutely nothing however a bird and to kill that too.
She utilized the feelings similar to a death of the child to totally free herself from this cold way of life to an independent one by vengeance. Comparing to the “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth concept she just defend her own life: “Mrs. Wright was only protecting her right to life, liberty and happiness. When she was not able to obtain a tiny piece of happiness for herself without her husband suffocating it or putting an end to it, she had to discover another way.
As was specified previously, spousal murder was a measure of great distress and distress within a marital relationship” (Phillips 306). Similar to the bird, Minnie has now released herself from John by eliminating him. Finally, Glaspell’s realism in representing the lives of the Midwestern female provide the play an effective effect as it questions our assumptions about gender. Glaspell suggests with the ironic action throughout the play that much there is far more in ladies than society and particularly guys anticipates of them.
Because the two ladies resolve the problem at the end and in truth finesse the men. In the play, the birdcage signifies a woman’s life in isolation, forced to live a life of distress. The organization of marital relationship in which a woman of a patriarchal society gives her identity to her other half by altering her name for example caused this. At the end, the canary and its stunning singing pertains to represent the young Minnie Foster who liked life and enjoyed to sing, and when her hubby strangles it, she feels that she has actually lost part of her identity and chooses to specific vengeance.
In this case there was nothing left since her other half took whatever she had in life and so it can be considered as an act of self-rescue. The broken birdcage represents Minnie’s flexibility from the restrictive function of “Mrs. Wright.” Once she is free she takes her vengeance for all of the years of abuse and oppression. She strangles the life out of John like he strangled her spirit and her bird, the only thing that gave her persistence through all these horrible years.
The birdcage metaphor likewise represents the function of women in society; the bird being lady and the cage is the patriarchal society, where females are thought about the weaker sex. This is a reason that the two ladies shield Mrs. Wright and not to support the law to which they are married. Alkalay argued that “the women’s lives are individually insignificant, and their only strength and/ or success can come from banding together” (Alkalay-Gut, p. 7). To summarize there is to say that this play shows that ladies only jointly way against the patriarchal suppression and their marital relationship cages.