Injustice Towards Women in Trifles by Glaspell


It is important to note that the short story “Trifles” was written by Susan Glaspell. The plot is centered around a murder event of Mr. Wright, where the local men investigate the scene separately from their wives. The selected character of interest is Mrs. Peters, the wife of the sheriff, who, with Mrs. Hale, conducted their own independent investigation of the murder apart from the men. Mrs. Peters proactively defends Mrs. Wright because she understands the patriarchal nature of society is manifested in the unfair legal system, injustice towards women, and oppression of just responses by women.

Firstly, one should be aware that Mrs. Peters and all other women in the community recognize that they live in an unjust patriarchal society rooted in an unfair legal system, where justice to women can be brought only by themselves. During the investigation, Mrs. Peters responds to Mrs. Hale’s statement about locking Mrs. Wright up by stating, “but Mrs. Hale, the law is the law” (Glaspell 6). In other words, the given tautology demonstrates and sets the basis for mutual understanding among women about their existing legal systems and social structures, which are restrictive against women.

Injustice Towards Women

Secondly, Mrs. Peters redirects the source of blame in regards to the bird to a cat instead of Mr. Wright since she is aware of injustice towards women. In response to the County Attorney’s question about the cat, she states, “well, not now. They’re superstitious, you know. They leave” (Glaspell 9). Thus, it is the key pivotal point where women decide to take the establishment of justice into their own hands. Since they know that the system is built in favor of men and against women, justice cannot be achieved within the existing framework, which is why they need to ensure justice with other available means.

Oppression of Just Responses by Women

Thirdly, Mrs. Peters recognizes the bird incident is not unique to the given case alone because she had a similar experience in her past, where patriarchy manifested itself in her inability to defend her cat and oppression of just response by women. Mrs. Peters recalls, “when I was a girl – my kitten – there was a boy who took a hatchet, and before my eyes – and before I could get there – If they hadn’t held me back, I would have – hurt him” (Glaspell 9). Therefore, she, too, was faced with injustice from men where her beloved pet was hurt by a boy, and she was not allowed to do anything about it.


In conclusion, Mrs. Peters actively protects Mrs. Wright since she is aware of the fact that the patriarchal nature of the social structure is manifested in the oppression of just response by women, unfair legal system, and injustice towards women. Both women know how their legal systems are patriarchal, where the law primarily serves men. Injustice towards women is common, which is why it is only up to them to serve justice. However, even the latter part is prevented by society unless they do it properly without revealing their true intentions in the open. Mrs. Peters is an important character because she is the one who decides to hide the relevance of the bird evidence from men by blaming its death on the cat.

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