Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Trifles

I think the performance of the play Trifles was very powerful. It was very surprising to me that something as forwardly feminist as this was able to gain recognition at its time and be performed by a major company. The play does have a theme of criticism towards men. While the men in the play believed they were doing important jobs and getting to the root of the case, they were really just fumbling around- only the women, upon whom the men looked down, were able to figure out a motive for Mrs. Wright's killing of her husband.

 I loved the line in the play which was along the lines of "Women are used to worrying about trifles". At the time, women obsessed over trifles because that's all they were really allowed to do. They didn't often occupy jobs like men, and a farmwife like Mrs. Wright couldn't get out of the house much, so women were forced to focus on the mundane, everyday tasks, like quilting, and baking, and making preserves. The women were able to find meaning and enjoyment in these tasks upon which the men looked down. In the play, Mrs. Wright's possessions relating to these "trifles" are what help Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters to solve the mystery, while the men continue to mock them for worrying about quilt scraps.  The play also demonstrates the general plight of women at the time. The women talk about Mrs. Wright's unhappy relationship- how her relationship with her husband saddened her to the point of stopping singing, an activity she liked; how she was forced to find joy in her canary, who sang for her, until her husband ruined that, too, by killing the bird. Mrs. Peters empathizes, talking of a boy who killed her kitten in front of her, of the cold of where she used to live, of her young child who died. These trifles may feel mundane to men,  but they are where women are forced to find joy. The women find comfort in the fact that one of Mrs. Wright's jars of preserves has remained intact instead of sadness in the fact that the rest have broken.

The play really shows the resilience of these women who are able to look on the bright side of their situations. The audience understands the sadness that led to Mrs. Wright's killing of Mr. Wright, and by the end of the play, we completely understand Mrs. Hale's and Mrs. Peters' decision to stand in solidarity with Mrs. Wright by hiding the evidence of her motive.

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