Components Shaping Susan Glaspell’s Art and Work

Subject: Literature
Pages: 5
Words: 1450
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: School


The theme of the work is the study of how time, events, and people surrounding the author form creativity and influence the author’s work on the example of Susan Glaspell. Studying the dates and developments that took place in history in a certain period give only a partial understanding of the world at that moment. However, for a proper understanding of the past, one also needs to know about the everyday life of people of that time, to know what was important to them, what worried them, what aroused their interest, and how they related to global events. Creativity and literature, in particular, are excellent tools for understanding this. Time, developments, and people surrounding the author form him, and the author forms the reader’s idea of ​​that time. Through the prism of personal experience, writers reflect in their work the real spirit and reality of their time and help to preserve and tell about it to future generations. One of the brightest representatives of the literature of the 20th century, whose work colorfully conveys the reality of that time, is the American playwright, writer, journalist, and actress Susan Glaspell.

Components that Influenced the Art and Work of Susan Glaspell

An in-depth study of the work of Susan Glaspell and the themes covered in her work is essential to understand the historical context of that time. After reading Trifles, key themes were identified that the author seeks to reveal in the play, such as spousal abuse of women, feminism, and the emergence of women’s rebellion against the violation of their rights. For these keywords, a search was done for scientific articles. Then the relevant articles were studied and analyzed, and the most relevant ones were selected. The sources were selected as they are most relevant to the research topic, help to reveal the research question, and are relevant. Determining the author of a source is essential in deciding whether the information is credible. All the authors of selected sources show evidence of being knowledgeable, reliable, and truthful. Chosen sources contain accurate and up-to-date information and meet the requirements of the research assignment.

The Historical Context of Susan Glaspell’s Work

The primary purpose of the source is a deeper look at Trifles. The author reviews the plot and explains what the reader should focus on more. She discusses the sceneries and key elements as well as the symbolism of some of the things. The play’s major theme, according to Alkalay-Gut (1984), is the distinction between masculine and feminine judgments. She contends that to comprehend Glaspell’s perspective and learn about the distinctions between the worlds of men and women during this century, the reader must follow the women’s tale, their relationships, and their discourse: “ It is specifically the connective, the accumulative details of experience, that provide the structural key for the comprehension of the story” (Alkalay-Gut, p.1). Article published in Studies in Short Fiction – a scholarly journal dedicated to the study of short fiction studied through short literary works. Author Alkalay-Gut has expertise in the area as she is a poet, professor, and editor who graduated from the University of Rochester with a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude and a master’s degree in English literature, holds a Ph.D., and has taught at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The disadvantage of the source is that the author focuses mainly on the study of feminism in the works of Glaspell and does not pay attention to other topics covered in the works, such as justice, judgment, isolation, and freedom. The value of this work for the research topic lies in the fact that it reinterprets some of the scenes and explains the literary devices and symbols that Glaspell used to emphasize the strong difference between the two worlds of men and women of that time.

Events and People that Influenced the Work of Susan Glaspell

In the academic paper “Twelve Good Men or Two Good Women: Concepts of Law and Justice in Susan Glaspell’s ‘A Jury of Her Peers.’” Mary M. Bendel-Simso’s main purpose is to analyze the story in detail and identify key issues laid down by Glaspell as the basis of the work. The author concludes that the lack of compassion in the court system is the primary issue with Glaspell’s story (Bendel-Simso, 1999). She contends that Glaspell’s portrayal of justice in the novel as being unjust to Minnie Wright was caused by the system’s underrepresentation of women, its disregard for Mrs. Wright’s perspective, and its complete lack of empathy in its attempt to draw attention to this issue in the real world. “Within the context of the story, there is a fundamental disarticulation between genders and among different classes and geographic settings“ (Bendel-Simso, p. 291). Article published in Studies in Short Fiction – a scholarly journal dedicated to the study of short fiction literary works. Mary Bendel-Simso is an article author and has significant experience in the field of literary studies, she has authored several scientific publications and has several awards in this field. In general, the article is professional and informative and does not have significant shortcomings. The value of this work as a contribution to the exploring topic is to provide a detailed analysis of Susan Glaspell’s A Jury of Her Peers, an interpretation of Glaspell’s thoughts and ideas, and the identification of the key issues of the work.

Susie Clarkson Holstein’s article is devoted to the study of the main characters of the play Trifles and their quiet participation in solving the murder. Pointing to specific events from the play, the author argues that the little things that are invisible to men and the general simplicity of women make it possible to truly solve the murder case. However, she also emphasizes the depth of their position since, unlike men who think only about the evidence, women are interested in the experiences and state of mind of Minnie Wright. Holstein aptly calls Trifles a “deceptive play”( Holstein, p. 282), emphasizing that its apparent simplicity hides a much deeper meaning and represents a profound conflict between two models of perception and behavior. Article published in Pittsburgh State University’s scientific journal of poetry, book reviews, and contemporary thought, The Midwest Quarterly. Holstein is an experienced writer of peer-reviewed articles on literature. The shortcoming of the article is that it does not provide radically new information. However, it allows the reader to take a different look at the Trifles and provides a basis for a deeper understanding. A valuable contribution of the source to the study is an attempt to get to know and analyze the characters of Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hales more closely. This makes the plot of the play more serious and interesting.

Susan Glaspell’s Contributions to Contemporary Art

The study of sources made it possible to explore the historical context in which the creative work of Susan Glaspell was formed. It gave an understanding of what events took place in her life, what kind of people surrounded her, and what interests she had outside her career. Several interesting events were identified, which, in my opinion, became key in shaping her work. An acute topic of that time, which disturbed the author, is the established patriarchal system, in which women often turned out to be oppressed, and their rights were rather limited. One of the early works of Trifles reflects these experiences, in which the author places the characters in conditions familiar to many women of that time. In America, Europe, and other areas of the world up to the 1900s, males ruled society, and women were viewed as subordinate to them. Women faced discrimination in every aspect of life. Numerous initiatives by women worldwide to fight for the restoration of gender equality were part of the Feminist Movement, also known as the Women’s Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement. One such devoted citizen was Susan Keating Glaspell, who, like other feminist authors, contributed significantly to the feminist cause by developing female characters who wanted to rebel against the conventionally constrictive roles society had set for them.


Glaspell first demonstrates how gender discrimination occurs in society before inspiring the play’s female characters to adopt a feminist position and oppose prejudice to the best of their abilities. The force of feminism is made clear to Glaspell’s protagonists, who are also taught to fight the masculine propensity to minimize and repress their gender. The campaign by women against social prejudice began in response to insulting statements about how much women care about trivial things. Understanding this position of women in society disturbed Glaspell. It was reflected in her work, becoming her hallmark and shaping her as one of the most prominent playwrights of her time.

Works Cited

Alkalay-Gut, Karen. “Jury of Her Peers: The Importance of Trifles.” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 21, no. 1, 1984, p. 1-9.

Bendel-Simso, Mary M. “Twelve Good Men or Two Good Women: Concepts of Law and Justice in Susan Glaspell’s ‘A Jury of Her Peers.’” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 36, no. 3, 1999, p. 291.

Holstein, Suzy Clarkson. “Silent Justice in a Different Key: Glaspell’s ‘Trifles.’” Midwest Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 3, 2003, p. 282.