Woman s Justice Susan Glaspel s Trifles misleads its readers into the impression that its focus it the investigation the murder of Mr. Wright. Glaspel goes much deeper then the Murder-she-wrote version of a mid-western game of clue; instead, readers are drawn into a good old day s version of Men are from Mars and Woman are from Venus. Aptly named Trifles, Glaspel develops her characters using the pronounced differences of Men and Women who are wrapped in the little things of life. Surprisingly, Glaspel elects not to introduce her readers to the victim or his murderer; these characters whom one might assume to be of central theme, never enter the stage. Most notably, Mrs.
Peters, the Sheriff s wife, plays a key role in discovering the life lessons of the play. At the end of the play, Mrs. Peters is able to break the bonds that imprison her character as she empathizes with the sad and lonely life of Mrs. Wright and steps from her shadow to effect change. Glaspel cleverly introduces each character in such a way that they need little description; each individual is already well known to the reader. The presumptuous and domineering men, the strong and comfortable looking woman and lastly, of most importance, the thin and nervous Mrs.
Peters who know her place. The reader s fellowship with Mrs. Peters begins slowly; her character seems little more then a shadow, of small note compared to the other characters of the play. She is defined by the fact that she is the Sheriffs wife and merely a female. Keeping with this role, Mrs.
Peters betrays her sex as she mimics her husband s beliefs and values, Of course they ve got awful important things on their minds. (949) This statement infers that the woman s thoughts and feelings are of little importance, it is the small trifles however, that later point to the discovery of the Mrs. Wright s motives. Mrs. Peters finds herself apologizing increasingly as the stor progresses. As more and more evidence is brought in light, Mrs.
Peters begins to identify with Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Wright s shared experiences allow Mrs. Peters to understand the importance of the discovery of the dead bird.
Assuming ly, the bird served as the one bright spot in Mrs. Wright's sad and lonely life. Mrs. Peter s suddenly understands as she relates her personal experience of a cruel boy who butchered her small kitten, If they hadn t held me back I would have, she catches herself, hurt him. (951) Readers clearly see her inner struggle as she wrestles with what is right and how she defines herself.
The defining moment in the play results from a simple question from the County Attorney, No, Mrs. Peters doesn t need supervising. For that matter a sheriff s wife is married to the law. Ever think of it that way, Mrs. Peters (952) With this, Mrs. Peters redefines herself as she answers, Not-just that way.
(952) Only Mrs. Hale and the readers understands the profound meaning behind these words, presumably, it was at this time that Mrs. Peters chooses to protect Mrs. Wright by concealing the evidence from the men who seek to condemn her.
With this bold step, Mrs. Peters quietly shapes her own identity; she not only frees Mrs. Wright from her chains but herself as well.