The following example essay on “The Story Trifle” is an analysis of a one-act play by Susan Glaspell. The essay reveals the plot of a work of art and talks about the main characters of the story.
In the story “Trifle,” the way the setting was depicted by the author helps the audience understand how sad the main character is. The setting also helps the audience to understand why Mrs. Wright was fond of her bird as the bird gave her life and happiness.
In the play, Mrs. Hale said: “come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself-real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and-fluttery” (Glaspell).
Mrs. Wright’s cheerfulness, beauty, and carefree spirit back then were metaphorically compared to a bird. “She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir,” said Mrs. Hale (Glaspel). In that remark, Mrs. Hale compared Mrs.
Wright’s colorful clothes to the bird’s pretty feathers. Mrs. Wright also sang in the choir just like the birds singing in groups.
However, after her marriage to Mr. Wright, she started to withdraw from her previous energetic activities maybe because she was possibly oppressed by her husband. The bird cage also symbolizes the secluded life of Minnie or Mrs. Wright. She started to live in isolation with her husband and farmland when she got married. She rarely went out and indulged herself in outdoor activities.
The preserved fruit, nicely designed sewing box, and empty bird cage also mirror Mrs.
Wright’s domestic and creative character. Most importantly, they were especially helpful to Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters in tracing the truth behind the murder case. The sewing box, which revealed Mrs. Wright’s unfinished quilt, suggested that she was a creative person and helped the audience understand why she was capable of such crafty and detailed murder. The short story “Sweat” on the other hand speaks about the uncivil and unequal treatment of women especially in their marriages.
Just like Minnie Wright, Delia Jones, the main protagonist of this story, survives years of her husband’s cruel physical and psychological treatment not just to her but on their community as a whole. Women during those times were expected to please their husbands, to do domestic works and to be obedient. Women could nothing to change their destinies towards the social constructed roles since they have very little opportunities in politics and social activities. Delia Jones was intertwined with two kinds of inequalities and discrimination: her role as a woman and the apparent discrimination towards her as a black woman.
She was doing a domestic role not just for her family but for the whole community. Her work includes doing a laundry for the white people since at this time there were relatively no job opportunities for women, especially if they were black. Her husband on the other hand refused to work with her, very insensitive and unsympathetic to her needs. ” Looka heah, Sykes, you done gone too fur. Ah been married to you fur fifteen years and Ah been takin in washin for fifteen years. Sweat sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat! ”
Her life was a never ending work and abuse not just with her husband but with the community as well. Even though the community was perfectly aware of the beatings, verbal and psychological abuses Delia was experiencing, they remained quiet believing that what happened between a husband and wife was personal so no one had the right to help that time during those days. Moreover, her husband publicly commits constant infidelities and no matter how devastating and painful it was to Delia, she can not file for a divorce. Divorce at that time was hard to obtain especially to a poor woman like her.
Fortunately Sykes was killed by a rattlesnake when his cruel joke abruptly turns on him. This started the turning point in Delia’s life. The death of her husband became a significant way to get out of the trap towards oppression and abuses. Even though Delia was constantly put down and made to feel less than human by her husband and the community around her, but her spirit and sense of self was never completely smothered. While Minnie Wright counteract with the abuses she experienced with her husband in a negative way; killing the oppressor.
Their point of comparison is that they are exactly opposite. Delia was being dominated by the good side of her human nature while Minnie Wright was dominated by the evil tendencies of human. The common feature of the two plays or stories is that both describe the nature of women. The women’s traits can be an advantage and disadvantage. Both stories were written in the early 1900’s where male dominates the civilization. Hence, the plays depict the conventional and traditional domestic nature of women and the different possibilities of how women will respond to it.