Oppression in the Early 20th Century Essay

1577 Words Apr 17th, 2013 7 Pages
Feminism means the belief that women should be treated as equals to men. In the early 20th century, women faced adversity in the sense that it was a struggle living at that time because they had a specific role to live up to, and that role was being housewives to the men. The early 20th Century was a male dominated society. Glaspell uses character names, Irony in the title, and symbolism in the play, “Trifles” to reveal the roles in which women play, and the harm it brings to women and also men in the early 20th Century.
In the play, there are two characters that are never seen, Mr. and Mrs. Wright. Mr. Wright plays off the social stereotype that women always seek for “Mr. Right”. Mr. Wright, “an Iowa farmer” (Leon Hilton, 147) has been
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Hale, by contrast, shows what John Wright did to Minnie after they got married. Mrs. Hale says “She -- come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself -- real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and -- fluttery. How -- she -- did – change” (Susan Glaspell, 22). John Wright abuses Minnie by disregarding her personality and individuality, and eventually Minnie kills John to escape that abuse. Glaspell is using the relationship between the Wrights to support the idea that it only takes a matter of time before women who are forced to be housewives and whose identities are mixed with that of their husbands, get fed up and seek revenge on their oppressors; people who cause them pain.
Moreover, Glaspell uses the title, “Trifles”, as a reflection of how men view women. A "trifle" is something that is small, and of no consequence. Mr. Hale says, "women are used to worrying over trifles" (Susan Glaspell, 9). The irony of the story is that while the men are running around looking for "clues,” in the bedroom and in the barn, the women have discovered the key to the mystery among what the men look at as only silly women's work (in the Kitchen). Glaspell uses the formal elements in the play to help convey the feminist theme. The title, the character names, and the metaphors all work together to paint a picture of Minnie's life with John, and also an extension to all women who are being oppressed under male domination.
Furthermore, Glaspell uses the

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