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Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles”andKate Chopin`s short story “The story of an Hour” have clearly exposed the theme of marriage using symbolism, characterization and irony. The two authors expose marriage in a similar way in several instances. The two stories are similar in that the authors portray women trapped in their marriages. “Trifles”Mrs. Wright kills her husband to get her happiness. In “The story of an Hour” Mrs. Mallard dies after discovering her husband is still arrive. Both characters are trapped in marriage and only death of their husbands could save them.
Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” is based on real events, which happened in Iowa. This was at the turn of the century. The author, Glaspell had worked like a reporter form 1899-1901the Des Moines News. This is where she covered the homicide judgment of Margaret Hossack who was a farmer’s wife, in Indianola, Iowa. She was accused of murdering her husband, John. She stroke him two times in the head using an ax at night while he was sleeping he slept.at the beginning, people had assumed that John was killed by burglars. Subsequently, sheriff’s investigation came up with evidence suggesting that Mrs. Hossack was uncomfortable in her marriage. This was proofed and she was found guilty of the crime. Margaret Hossack was sentenced to life in prison. Glaspell wrote the short play in memory of Hossack (Mustazza 494).
“Trifles” is a manslaughter mystery exploring, power between the sexes, marriage, and the nature of truth and gender relationships. In the actual play, the farmer and his wife do not appear. The author uses George Henderson, prosecutor, who has been called in to investigate the killing; the local sheriff, Henry Peters; a neighboring farmer, Lewis Hale, who discovered Wright’s corpse; and Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, wives to the two local dudes. As the men tramp and bluster around the farmhouse looking for clues, the females discover pecks of proof in the ‘‘trifles’’ of the farmer’s wife—her cleaning, sewing and baking. The men in the play virtually ignore women’s world. Eventually, they remain blind to the reality before their eyes (Glaspell 245).
Mr. Wright has not fared well with his wife. Mrs. Wright is totally uncomfortable with her marriage. She believes she can only gain happiness and freedom if the husband is dead. She was annoyed when Wright silenced her bird, which was probably the last thing that gave her happiness in the house. They have lived together for thirty years with no happiness in their household. Mrs. Hale discovers the bird’s cage. This reveals to the reader that Wright has been rough on the bird. Possibly, this is the same way he has been rough with his wife in marriage. The singing of the bird reminds Mrs. Wright of the songs they used to sing pretty songs in the church choir. This is how she will start singing when she silences her husband (Mael 95). Mrs. Wright murders her husband to gain freedom and happiness in life again after thirty years of oppression.
Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour" exposes the reader is the degree to which women are "trapped" in marriage even when they do not know. Mrs. Mallard demonstrates a woman who appears quitted to her marriage. Mrs. Mallard wept, with sudden and wild abandonment when she notices the death of her husband. She goes to her room and grieves. She feels she is not feeling the way anyone would feel in case a spouse is killed.
As Mrs. Mallard reflects on how her life will be as a widow, an ambiguous feeling catches her. She could hardly understand what she felt as it was something fearful. It was too elusive and subtle to name. She believes she will weep forever for her husband’s death and especially during his burial. She tries to ignore this felling, but it defeats her. There is a feeling convincing her that she is free. She starts understanding the implications of her husband’s death. She will weep for a moment and then be free for the rest of her life. She spread her hands to welcome the new life. She had never imagined of being single again after getting married. She will not take of her husband again since he is already dead. She does not plan to marry again and plans to live life on her own.
Chopin exposes the way women are trapped in a marriage. Mrs. Mallard points out that there would be no one to live in the future years as she would live them for herself. A kind a cruel objective made the act appear no less offense as she looked upon it in that short moment of enlightenment. Mrs. Mallard seems to believe that marriage in an institution that limits both man and women. Spouses do not consider their partner’s needs. They want their needs take care irrespective of the implications the actions will have in their partner’s lives (Chopin 123). However, Chopin considers marriage to be more limiting to a woman than a man. Women are expected to handle all activities around the household such as cooking, washing and taking care of the home. Men believe that women should handle those activities with specification as it is their work. Mrs. Mallard started considering such things only after the death of her husband. She was now free and had the freedom to do whatever she wanted. She does not gain such perspectives because she did not love her husband. Additionally, whether she loved her husband or not, she was married to him and that could not be changed.
The absolute and sudden realization of how life would be after the burial of her husband was open to her. She was missing the days ahead when summer days and spring days will all be her own. She prayed that life would be long so that she enjoys the freedom in the new life. Ironically, this realization is what kills her. When she realizes that her husband is still alive, she cannot take it any longer. Her heart is too weak for such a discovery after all the fantasy. She gets a heart attack and dies. Her husband thinks that she is overwhelmed with joy after seeing her and her heart collapses as it cannot take it. However, the reader knows the truth (Chopin 65).
Both Kate Chopin and Susan Glaspell show so clearly the restrictions that unite people in marriage. Mrs. Wright is exposed as unhappy and dissatisfied in her marriage. This makes her made the worst decision of killing her husband to acquire the happiness again. Similarly, Mrs. Mallard was so happy when she discovered the death of her husband. She believes that life will be the best and hopes life will be longer and sweet. Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Mallard are resigned marriages which has trapped them. They believe that death of their husbands is the only solution to make life happy and comfortable. Mrs. Wright cannot face life with her husband again and decides to kill him. Similarly, Mrs. Mallard cannot face life again when she discovers her husband is still alive. She instantly dies of heart attack (Makowsky 43).
In conclusion, Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles”andKate Chopin`s short story “The story of an Hour”exposes the reader to restrictions women face in marriage. The authors present women in marriage, which they are not comfortable in. Mrs. Wright is uncomfortable in her marriage and ends up killing her husband. Mrs. Mallard appears to have a good marriage as she loved her husband. However, she is happy when she discovers the death of her husband. She instantly died when she sees her husband and discovers life will be the same as it was. The two authors show how women feel trapped and restricted in marriage.