SUSAN GLASPELL’S TRIFLES
Published 02 Oct 2017
It was said that the settings for the plays generates certain impact for the audience or reader. It usually brings out the necessary highlights that are needed to be brought up. The issues or conflicts in the play could easily be identified given a good setting for a play. The ambiance or the mood of the play could establish the right reactions from the audience or readers. In this particular essay, the play that is about to be scrutinized is the one that was written by Susan Glaspell. “Trifles’ was written on the year 1916. It is highly essential to note this particular year given that the issue that would be raised in this paper concerns the setting of the play. But what is a setting? It could be seen that the setting, concerning a play, means that it is “the time, place, and circumstances in which a narrative, drama, or film takes place. (“Settings”)” or it is “The context and environment in which a situation is set; the background. (“Settings”)” I firmly assert then that the setting of a play could reflect the meaning of the play.
The setting put up by Glaspell in “Trifles’ then would be a good indication for the interpretation that a reader or audience might have. The setting could bring out the meaning for the plays due to two things. Firstly, it could generate the basic information to create the basic interpretation of the play. It would seem that the setting in the said play could bring out the feministic issues of the author or writer. The setting also brought about the moralistic issue that the author or writer had left for the speculation of the audience or reader. Lastly, the concurrence is also due to the reason that the setting provides the aesthetic and symbolic outlook to further assert the meaning and the interpretation that could be found in the play.
How would a setting affects the entirety of the play depends on how the audience or reader would view the play itself. Interpretations of the play then are a necessary action that could generate the meaning of the play. In this sense, the setting could then provide a tableau for the basic interpretations that the audience or reader would have. It becomes very basic since it could provide a hint on the gravity of the issues or conflict that might occur. It could be inferred then that the basic conflict that could be found in the play is the dichotomy between the male and female sexes. The year 1916 may not be the year for the height of feministic ideals but the play had created a certain hint on the views of women in Glaspell’s time. The timeframe of the play was one where the male species dominate the scene of society.
It could be concluded then that the internal battles of the two women in the play could have a direct connection to the societal framework that they are in. The implications are there particularly when the male dialogues pertain to how they view the inferiority of the female species. The undeniably prejudiced remark could be found especially when it came to the “trifles’ that the women are concerned. The kitchen setting could also provide a situation where this has become the symbol of the women’s domain. The main scene in the play revolves around the kitchen. The women being known to be at-home to the kitchen was not touched by the law enforcer in the decision that the kitchen would have nothing to do with the crime scene. Surely, the law enforcer has disregarded the area due to the reasons that he would not dare to touch the women’s domain and that he had underestimated the power that the women could have. The setting then played a major role in creating the basic interpretations needed by the audience or reader to understand the conflict and to know the meaning of the play. Another issue that could be raised here then is the moralistic implication that the play has. The issue on whether or not the women should have told their secret to the men is a clear indication that what was in the mind of the women were beyond moralistic. It had become the silent battle cry that they have against the domineering male species.
Although, in real instances this would be unforgivable but the play was banking on the fantastical implications on what women could really do. The cleverness that was displayed in the kitchen was a way for Glaspell to say that women could be respected especially when they too have intellectual capacities. The setting helped then for the audience or readers to realize such implication.
Another reason that the setting could bring out the meaning of the play is that the setting have certain aesthetic and symbolic value for the people. The aesthetic and symbolic value of the play could highlight the things that could be highlighted. Take for example the kitchen area of the play. It was necessary that some of the things there should be left cluttered. It could only heighten the sense of distress that Mrs. Wright had been feeling. It was a well-known fact that women stayed in the house to look after the household matters and a cluttered kitchen would symbolically mean that the disturbance in the household is quite obvious. Since the men had no idea on how the female mind works, they have dismissed it to poor implementation of chores. It would not be unusual that the revelation of the meaning behind this were only coming from the women in the play. Let it be noted then that the scene where the men were teasing the women about the trifle they were making over an unfinished quilt. They believed this to be a trifle but little did they know that the implication of the dialogues and the quilt itself is and evidence that could solve the mystery.
In conclusive remarks, the setting could provide the readers or audience ample information in generating the meaning of the play. The setting could provide the basic information that is necessary for the basic interpretations of the play. With these basic interpretations the audience or reader could pinpoint the meaning behind the play. Another reason for the importance of the setting is the aesthetic and symbolic value that it could provide to further understand what the author or writer would want his/her reader to understand about the play.
- “Settings”. 2003. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Fourth Edition (August 21, 2007). http://www.thefreedictionary.com/settings .