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Review essay topics: Review either or a performance of Susan Glaspel's 'Trifles' or the play itself
The play 'Trifles' by Susan Glaspell is written in feminist spirit, in a spirit of aggressive revolt against androcentric domination - this tone probably dictates the peculiarities of its plot. The most notable aspect of play is the emphasis on female personality traits, such as cunningness and strong logic, when it is necessary to notice and analyze 'trifles', or minor details, as women manage to reveal the crime. The way the author highlights the women's investigation is determined by two main notions: female revenge and both cognitive and social obstacles to free communication between a man and a woman. Revealing the crime, the women nevertheless destroy the evidence in order to svae their female friend, i.e. for the sake of female solidarity.
1) That most significant reason for the stress on female reasoning that, as the author demonstrates, excels male logic, is the notion that males are not likely to listen to their wives' arguments.
2) The time-honored male attitude towards female as to a dumb creature thus plays an important role in the play, so that the investigators in skirts have a 'silent agreement' to avoid revelations.
3) Kitchen, a typically 'feminine' symbol, is viewed by the sheriff as deserving no attention, whereas most evidence was hidden under the kitchen table.
Primary issues to discuss.
1) Describe the composition of the play and briefly summarize it.
2) Compare the female characters' behavior in the company of their husbands and after being left in the kitchen. Which points of difference do you find most important for the play?
3) Find the phrases and gestures, demonstrating the men's attitude towards Mrs.Hale and Mrs.Peters. Why do the men underestimate their wives?
4) Evaluate the acts of Mrs.Hale and Mrs.Peters from the logical and ethical viewpoint. Is female solidarity morally appropriate in this situation?
Ben-Zvi, L. Susan Glaspell: Essays on Her Theater and Fiction. University of Michigan Press, 1995.
Glaspell, S. Trifles. Available online at: , 2004.
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Susan Glaspel's 'Trifles'
'One Perfect Day' by Paul Currie
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