Oppression of Women
Sexism towards women is not a new topic in today’s news. The foggy understanding of male and female gender roles dates back to early centuries. Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, written in 1916, and Michael Hollinger’s Naked Lunch, written in 1962, are both examples of the misunderstanding of female roles in the twentieth century. Even though these plays were written almost fifty years apart, men have always believed they hold superiority over women. They have developed negative attitudes towards women, thinking females aren’t capable of much and do not worry about real issues. To men, women are supposed to gain specific roles in the household and are looked down upon and are not respected if they do not obtain them. The themes in both plays lie around feminist criticism and lack of communication. Lack of communication is the reasoning behind the misunderstanding of gender roles. Due to men seeking superiority over women and the murky perspective of female roles in these plays, tension between genders is created giving both plays a very harsh tone towards women.
Glaspell’s Trifles displays an endless amount of gender misunderstanding. First, one must understand the roles of women in the twentieth century. In this time period, 1916, women are not superior in any matter. Just like the play’s main character, Mr. Wright treats fellow main
character Mrs. Wright poorly because he believes women are only good for one thing and are only meant for one thing: house wives.
In addition to being defined by their status as it relates to men, adult women’s lives are predominantly defined by their status as mothers in Mrs. Wright’s culture. Professional lives outside of the home for farmwives like Mrs. Wright are not an option; bearing and raising children are seen as an obligation, life’s major responsibility, and a given.
(Bailey, McDaniel L. Literary Contexts in Plays: Susan Glaspell's "Trifles")
In this play, Mrs. Wright is accused...