Trifles

Mrs. Peters: Beyond a Traditionalist 12th Grade

Protest is defined as “a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to someone or something.” On first instinct, most consider a protest to be a physical act, like marching through the streets towards a noble goal. A monumental event, such as the women’s suffrage movement, is the archetypal protest for most people. Susan Glaspell, author of the play Trifles and the short story “A Jury of Her Peers,” proves that a protest can be something as simple as asserting one’s own importance within the confines of the home. Being one of the few progressive authors during the early 20th century, Glaspell's works reached many women who had been too afraid to speak upon the abuse they had been enduring. Mrs. Hale, the progressivist, and Mrs. Peters, the traditionalist, are perfect examples as to how contrasting views are shaped by life at home. Women like Mrs. Peters had almost no voice left at all, but with the help of a progressive friend for encouragement, Mrs. Peters was able to break away from the status quo and form her own opinions. Glaspell outlines the progression of Mrs. Peters from an oppressed housewife to a free-thinker to give 20th century women a model for withstanding the subjugation of domestic abuse.

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