Sexism in “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell

Sexism is the discriminative behavior towards a person of the opposite sex especially towards women. In Trifles, Glaspell explores the theme of sexism particularly the oppression of women in the society. The distinction of the gender roles between men and women leads to the description of women characters. The feeble behavior of the females in the story hinges on men’s aggressiveness and oppressive nature, which underscores sexism in the story.

Due to superiority, harshness and aggressiveness of men, women are forced to be subservient, polite, and respective. Before her marriage, Minnie is a cheerful, happy girl always singing and wearing bright-colored clothes. After her wedding, Minnie’s character changes abruptly and she is always sad, untidy, antisocial, and eventually becomes a murderer.

She always quarrels with her husband who does not respect her subjecting her to loneliness and unhappiness. To Mr. Wright, women are lesser beings who deserve the worst at best and that is why he mistreats his wife Minnie to appoint of snuffing the ‘song’ and cheerfulness from her.

One day the cruelty of her husband pushes Minnie to the wall and she decides to kill him during his sleep. She does not regret her actions but she lies to the law enforcers that a stranger strangled her husband. Unfortunately, Minnie remains the prime suspect and ends up in custody.

Back at home, the attorney and the Sheriff search for the evidence in her house in her absence, they brush off women places such as the kitchen meaning it was not important. They concentrate in the bedroom, a place believed to be more masculine but they are unable to locate substantial evidence because unfortunately for these chauvinists, the evidence of the murder lies in the kitchen; the deep-rooted sexism in these men’s minds overrides reason.

The society expects women to remain silent before men, a fact that the women at the crime scene obey. Although there are women at the crime scene, the men do not value their presence or contribution especially the attorney and the Sheriff.

Interestingly, the women discover concrete evidence that could nail Minnie down, however they decide to conceal the evidence to protect her. Mrs. Hale is happy that Minnie’s cruel husband is dead; furthermore, she thinks he deserves the punishment. Mrs. Hale happiness proves that women are looking forward to the day they will achieve their freedom, as it is the case with Minnie.

Additionally, the women in Trifles are unimportant while men consider themselves superior or extremely important. All the professionals at the crime scene are men, unfortunately the women present turn out to be more observant and analytical than the men. When the women discover a cage with a strangled bird, they conclude it was Minnie’s plan to kill her husband.

On the other hand, the county attorney makes fun of the dead bird in cage without keenly thinking about the cause of its death. Due to the submissiveness of the women, they do not share their discovery with men but even if they did, the men could brush them off. If anything, what is it a woman can see that a man cannot see? In other words, women can only see unimportant things and that is why their opinion does not matter.

In summary, the seemingly weak character of women in Trifles roots on men cruelty, oppressiveness, harshness and inequality. The women in the story, Minnie, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are submissive, respectful, and obedient to men.

On the other hand, they are secretly fighting for their freedom, as it is the case with Minnie and Mrs. Hale. Sexism comes out clearly, when the county attorney and the sheriff ignore the women’s contribution towards the murder case. Moreover, Mr. Wright disrespects and mistreats his wife a sure way of sexism

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