Essay on Trifles : Susan Glaspell 's Act

1071 Words Dec 1st, 2014 5 Pages
Feminism in Trifles Susan Glaspell’s one-act play, Trifles, is a classic example of feminist literature, based on actual events that occurred in Iowa at the turn of the century. “Glaspell worked as a reporter for the Des Moines News, where she covered the murder trial of a farmer’s wife, Margaret Hossack, in Indianola, Iowa. Hossack was accused of killing her husband, John, by striking him twice in the head with an axe while he slept” ( 1). Glaspell found herself sympathetic to Mrs. Hossack, a woman supposedly abused by her husband. Trifles irrefutably demonstrates how men considered women inferior during the latter 19th century. In fact, the central conflict of Trifles is driven solely by a gender issue. At the center of the conflict is the assumption of George Henderson and Henry Peters that the women, Mrs. Henderson and Mrs. Peters, have no means of helping solve the crime, the murder of John Wright. Not only these men specifically, but society in general, believe a woman’s place is in the home. Women are repressed in this male-dominated society and their role is simply to follow the men’s lead, particularly their husbands. By looking beyond just the surface story, it is seen in the role of the antagonists and protagonists, as well as the symbolism throughout the play, that the central conflict of Trifles is driven by the perception of gender roles at that time.
Generally, the antagonist of any work of literature is a single character. However, in this…

Related Documents