Gender Roles And Femininity : Susan Glaspell 's One Act Play

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Gender Roles and Femininity
In Susan Glaspell’s one-act play Trifles, the women become more privy of the circumstances surrounding John Wright’s murder than their husbands who are actually conducting the investigation. In the male-centric setting of the American Midwest in the 1920’s, the play addresses gender roles by placing the emphasis on the female characters in the play. While the men are hard at work, it is the women who emerge as the protagonists. In this essay, I wish to explore the gender roles developed by Glaspell in the house of John Wright, particularly their role in the home, finding their identities, and the stereotypes portrayed in literature. The gender role motif is important to explore because it is replicated in many texts including the literature of today.
First, Glaspell’s play addresses the role of women by establishing the setting in the kitchen of the household. The men in the play make it very clear that the kitchen is the woman’s responsibility by criticizing Minnie’s cleaning abilities. Because the kitchen is ideally the room set aside for women, the men spend very little time in this room and fail to thoroughly explore its contents, almost out of discomfort. The county attorney asks, “You’re convinced that there was nothing important here—nothing that would point to any motive,” and the sheriff replies, “Nothing here but kitchen things” (8). This provides the women with the opportunity to navigate through Minnie’s belongings, and thus,

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