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Minnie in “Trifles”, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 573

Essay

Susan Glaspell’s short story, “Trifles” proffer a narrative in which the murder of Mr. Wright at the hands of his wife and the ensuing investigation of her home to ascertain and collect clues to reconstruct how the crime took place are at the fulcrum.  Throughout the short story, it becomes quite clear that female intuition is viewed as far more fair for obtaining justice for Minnie Wright in order for her to be adjudicated by a jury of her peers—referring to the other married, suburban women who have female intuition in addition to empathy for women in their same position within a gender status  quo that renders women subservient to their male counterparts–than by an prejudicial judicial system that operates predicated on various biases and assumptions firmly embedded within the gender status quo. Set in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in rural mid-western America, Glaspell’s “Trifles limns women’s experiences during this epoch and evokes various feminist intimations, as women such as Minnie, the heralded protagonist, were empowered by the very discrimination that was waged against them in suburban America. The males in the lives of Minnie and the other suburban women in her community are persistently silenced, which is most palpable during the investigation of Mr. Wright’s murder because due to the fact that male authorities and community members believe that criminal matters are beyond the purview and knowledge that females possessed.

At the outset of the narrative, Minnie Wright is already sitting in prison and waiting for her trial to commence. The police, prosecutorial lawyer, and a male neighbor all convene in Minnie Wright’s home to conduct an investigation of the murder accompanied by several of the neighborhood wives. As the only so-called authoritative representatives of the law, the male characters look all over the home to gather any and all possible clues to assist them in piecing together a meticulous step-by-step account of what took place and led up to the demise of Mr. Wright. They were primarily searching for any clues that Minnie had become so enveloped by her own rage that she cold-bloodedly murdered her husband . The other wives, however, who joined in the investigation so that they could gather and bring to Minnie some of her personal belongings such as clothing were dismissed despite the fact that they were able to reconstruct what transpired. Because they empirically possessed intimate knowledge of the lives and experiences of suburban women in American during that epoch, they quickly gleaned how the crime developed. They are able to find evidence that Mr. Wright physically abused Minnie on a consistent basis. Such evidence if brought to the attention of the could would no doubt hasten her conviction by elucidating her motive for murdering her husband. As women living in similar conditions, these neighbors felt empathy for Minnie, and they acknowledged their own moral failures for not assisting her when she needed their help. As such, the neighbors maintain their silence and hide the incriminating evidence from the authorities who unsurprisingly never actually acknowledge their presence within the murder home. Ironically, it is the female neighbors who intuitively gather clues that clearly prove Minnie’s guilt, and the culpatory clues are mundane household items that the authorities automatically discounted as worthless and frivolous in the same way that women like Minnie and her neighbors are rendered trivial and lacking intelligence for their preoccupation with trifles and other worthless matters.

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