Symbolic Representation of Women in Trifles College

Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles, reflects her fixation with culture-bound notions of gender roles and the complexities of inequality prevalent in the home as well as the public sphere during 1916. The competing roles and perspectives of men and women work to create a social division by confining women to the home where the contributions go unnoticed and undervalued. Glaspell’s use of symbolism in Trifles works to represent how false assumptions about women lead to a dysfunctional society.

The symbolism of the setting represents the isolation of women in society, as well as emphasizes the kitchen as a domain for women. The opening description of the kitchen as “gloomy” and “left without having been put in order” denotes a sense of despair (73). The coldness and isolation of the region also plays an important role. When the group first enters the house, they note the coldness and the men flock to the fire. As Hale recalls his conversation with Minnie, he asks her, “How do, Mrs. Wright, it’s cold, ain’t it?” and she responds, “Is it?” (74). The coldness correlates with John Wright’s callous actions towards Minnie, and the fact that Minnie doesn’t recognize the coldness foreshadows her husband’s death since she doesn’t feel his...

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