Those trifling heifers!

What a brilliantly written piece Trifles is! It addresses so many issues in such a condensed space. It becomes apparent very early in the reading that though it should be, Trifles is about everything other than the murder of John Wright. The hegemonic construct of gender and its accompanying prejudices seem to take center stage. What is interesting is that this gender hegemony is not just manifested through the subjugation of femininity to hegemonic masculinity but also through the subjugation of other masculinities.

The aside establishes immediately the masculine hegemony. In a time when social norms dictated that for matters of etiquette ladies were always first, the scene opens with men entering from the freezing cold before the women. This along with the duties of “little things” assigned the women, and the men constant jokes about and belittling of the women’s quilting all establishes a precedent of male superiority over women. In addition, the portrayal of Mr. Henderson, the county attorney, as intellectually superior explains his hegemonic mindset toward the Sheriff and Mr. Hale, establishing hegemonic masculinity over the other males. However, of the two, hegemonic masculinity toward women was pervasive.

Of interest, also, was the disparity of the acceptance of this norm between Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. Mrs. Hale appears to have the mindset of the first wave feminist, while Mrs. Peters was the typical acquiescent female. It was Mrs. Hale, of the two, who recognized the treatment of the women by the men as condescending and oppressive; it was also she who was not afraid to take the steps necessary to protect Mrs. Wright when the extent of the injustice and abuse levied against her, by her husband, was deduced by the women. The solving of the crime by the women emphatically deconstructed the males hegemonic construct showing the complete fallacy of it.


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