Disregard of Women in “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell

Subject: Literature
Pages: 6
Words: 1703
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: Undergraduate


Trifles was a play written by Susan Glaspell and has attracted a significant audience so far. The play features various styles of literature, including tragedy and legal intervention. The death of Mr. Wright has its roots in the difficult situations that entangle women. Disregarding women led to serious issues, including the tragic murder of Mr. Wright. Society fails to recognize the essence of the role played by women, a disregard that has serious consequences. Women are portrayed as people who focus on petty issues, which have no impact on the development process. The essay will focus on highlighting how women are underestimated and disregarded by society, despite the fact that they may have solutions to problems.


Women are associated with many mistakes since they fail to focus on the way things should be perceived. At the beginning of the investigation, County Attorney seems to be convinced that Mrs. Wright murdered her husband. Sherriff says that the fact that Mrs. Wright is worried over her fruit preserves at a time she is being accused of murder, shows how shallow-minded women are. County Attorney says that Mrs. Wright will only understand the seriousness of the case, once they prove that she murdered Mr. Wright. Mr. Hale confirms the perception of society towards women when he says that women always worry over petty issues. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters feel uncomfortable about negative comments that are being made concerning the women. County Attorney goes forth to despise Mrs. Wright and says that she is not a homemaker, due to the presence of dirty towels. Mrs. Hales defends Mrs. Wright and says that towels get dirty quickly and that there is a lot of work on the farm. County Attorney kicks disorganized dishes in Mrs. Wright’s kitchen, which shows that he has no regard for her. Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters attempt to defend Mrs. Wright, since they acknowledge the difficult situations that women find themselves in (Ben-Zvi 16).

Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hales are not comfortable in presence of men, since they do not acknowledge the essence of the role played by women. The two women are hesitant to join men at the fireplace. Despite the fact that County Attorney states that the area is so cold, Mrs. Hales says that she does not feel cold only as an excuse to avoid sitting around men. Further, there is mention that two women stay close to each other. Women seem to understand the plight that they are in and only find comfort among themselves. Mrs. Hales feels guilty since she had not visited Mrs. Wright earlier. Mrs. Peters however comforts her and says that she was also busy with children and working on the farm. According to Mrs. Peters, all women are exposed to a similar plight that only varies in degree (Belasco 11).

Sherriff and Attorney prefer to investigate over the stairs since they feel that crucial information lies there. On the other hand, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hales choose to give each other company and try to look for an emotional reason as to why Mrs. Wright could have murdered Mr. Wright. In this regard, Mrs. Wright could have been in a difficult situation and could have possibly ended up killing her husband. The two women are reluctant to confirm their true feelings towards the whole issue. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hales fear what society might think of them and fail to take sides. Mrs. Hales realizes a quilt that had been wrongly made at some point and relates it with an emotional breakdown. According to her, she always made wrong stitches when she was emotionally disturbed. On the other hand, Mrs. Peters states that she made bad stitches whenever she was tired. According to this discussion between Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters, actions made by women are dependent on the emotional organization. Despite the fact that there are varied reasons why Mrs. Wright could have made bad stitches on the quilt, emotional disturbance is a relevant possibility.

As Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters continue to share their experiences and ponder over the tragic incident, they associate the plight of Mrs. Wright to be a possible cause. They try to analyze the sewing made by Mrs. Wright and wonder whether her next action was to quilt or tie it. County Attorney hears their conversation and is amused by how trivial they are. According to County Attorney, the investigation requires evaluation of serious measures and not trivial matters like sewing. Later, Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters find a bird’s cage and are interested in how Mrs. Wright could have kept a bird in there. Despite the fact that Mr. Wright was seen as a good man, Mrs. Hales brings out his hard and insensitive side. Mrs. Hales states that Mr. Wright was not a man who could be amused by a bird.

The issue of a bird’s cage takes a different trend since the bird is nowhere to be found. The two women consider a possibility of a bird had flown away or being killed by a cat. Crucial inspection of the bird’s cage reveals that the door had been roughly broken. The two women continue to wonder over what might have transpired that night and continue looking for more facts. Notably, Mrs. Wright had sent for an apron and sewing materials, an act that had been dismissed as being petty by County Attorney. Mrs. Hales finds the bird wrapped on a cloth that was put in a beautiful basket. They conclude that Mrs. Wright must have loved the bird since she was going to bury it in a beautiful basket.

The discovery made by Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters is of paramount importance in this investigation. Proper scrutiny on the bird reveals that it had been killed since its neck appeared to have been wrung. In this regard, Mr. Wright could have killed the bird and Mrs. Wright got angry and killed him. Mr. Wright must have known that Mrs. Wright cherished the bird. As a matter of fact, he could have killed it just to hurt her or make her pay for something. If Mr. Wright killed the bird, then it shows how he was insensitive to his wife. Further, the act of killing the bird can be described as a show of how society treats the emotions of women. Despite the fact that Mr. Wright knew that his wife loved the bird, he could have killed it to show how petty her emotions were. The emotional breakdown of Mrs. Wright, when he realized that her bird had been killed by her husband could be the reason why she killed him too. Notably, Mrs. Hales discovered a foul scent of the dead bird, which shows that the bird was killed before murdering Mr. Wright. In this regard, the possibility that Mrs. Wright could have killed the bird after she was frustrated at what she had done to her husband is ruled out. All evidence is directed towards the earlier killing of the bird by Mr. Wright and the aftermath murder of Mr. Wright by Mrs. Wright, due to emotional breakdown. Mrs. Peters outlines a similar scenario that she was in when she was a child. A certain boy had killed one of her kittens and said that if she had the power, she could have hurt him.

The appearance of the Sherriff and County Attorney, presents an earlier scenario of uncomfortable women. Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters, fail to announce their discoveries to them since they are afraid of what they would say. According to the women, Sherriff and County Attorney are not men who would focus on trivial issues like the death of a bird in investigating crucial murder. Further, Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters feel that they should not do anything that would prove Mrs. Wright guilty of the murder of Mr. Wright. They are torn between the plight of Mrs. Wright and law measures to be taken against her, once she is proven guilty. Mrs. Hales felt guilty since she had not helped Mrs. Wright out of her plight in any way. She hurriedly hid their discoveries, since she wanted to keep Sherriff and County Attorney out of it (Belasco 12).

County Attorney continues to taunt Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters for their earlier focus on quilts and knots. Disregarding women by society is the main reason why Mrs. Wright killed her husband. The earlier encounter of Hales with Mrs. Wright showed that she was anxious at the mention of police. Hales mentioned that Mrs. Wright seemed confused, despite the fact that she was making stitches on her apron when she arrived. Uncontrolled emotion especially when Mrs. Wright laughs at the fact that Hales had come to see Mr. Wright, reveals the difficult situation of Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Wright killed her husband since she could not forgive him for killing her bird. Mrs. Hales presents that the bird was Mrs. Wright’s companion since the place was not cheerful. Mrs. Wright intentionally asks for her apron and sewing materials, as a way of leading them to the dead bird (Bryan and Patricia 23).


Disregarding such speculations by Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters will have serious effects on the investigation of the case. Society needs to change the association of women with petty issues since they are likely to lead to solutions. For example, if Mr. Wright had not compromised the emotions of Mrs. Wright by killing her bird, there would be no tragedy. The requisition made by Mrs. Wright in the jail, should not be dismissed as a trifle. As a matter of fact, her requisition enabled Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters to discover what had transpired that night. Based on the findings of the two women, earlier claims that Mr. Wright had been killed silently by someone else are discredited. Sherriff and County Attorney should therefore realize how ignorance and disregard of women in society are crucial in a legal investigation. Disregarding Mrs. Wright’s emotions resulted in the death of Mr. Wright. Similarly, disregard of Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters was the reason why Sherriff and Count Attorney failed to get facts behind the murder of Mr. Wright.

Works Cited

Belasco, Johnson. The Bedford Anthology of American Literature, Boston: Bedford-St Martin’s Press. 2008. Print.

Ben-Zvi, Linda. Susan Glaspell: Essays on Her Theater and Fiction, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 1995. Print.

Bryan, Patricia and Wolf, Thomas. Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America’s Heartland, Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books. 2005. Print.