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Trifles & The Glass Menagerie Essay, Research Paper
Short Answer #1-
In Susan Glaspell?s Trifles, the dialog between characters creates the deep meaning of the story. The attitudes of the men is much different than that of the women, thus adding to one of the major themes. The speech of the women when they are alone conveys a completely separate attribute of the play.
The men in this play treat the women as if they were nothing more than senseless little creatures who live their lives to do housework. The County Attorney and Mr. Hale speak of the women as if they worry about silly ?trifles? (994). They continue to criticize Mrs. Wright?s housekeeping skills. Discusted, the two women defend her, explaining how difficult the chores can be. At one point, the men even laugh at the women as they are discussing a quilt (996). These examples reinforce the theme of inequality that Glaspell attempts to convey.
When the women are alone, they are much more vocally sympathetic in defending their sex. While waiting for the men to finish, Mrs. Hale reflects on how she wished she had spent more time with Mrs. Wright (997). She recognized the loneliness and restricted lifestyle, and regretted not visiting. A very important comparison made by Mrs. Hale is brought to light when she parallels the characteristics of the bird to those of Mrs. Wright (998). This helps the audience recognize the major symbolism of the play. The dialog between the women when they are alone displays the fact that they have more knowledge of the situation than the men do.
The speeches made in this play clearly let the reader understand the themes being conveyed by Glaspell. By paying attention to the conversations of the actors, audiences understand the ideas of inequality and injustice toward women, along with being exposed to the symbolistic qualities of the story.
Short answer #2-
The setting of a play is an extremely helpful tool in letting the author convey feelings and messages that are not as obvious as those in the speeches of the characters. Tennessee Williams shows excellent use of setting in his play titled The Glass Menagerie. His description of both time and location add greatly to the overall depth of the story, and combined with minor setting details, create a spectacular work that present important themes to the audience.
This play was written in 1944. The narrator, Tom Wingfield, is also one of the characters, and gives the audience a clear description of the time period in which it takes place. He begins by going backward in time to describe that the stage is set in the nineteen-thirties (695). During this time, gender issues were present in a much different way than they are today. Young women were expected to either study in a business school or marry into a well-off family. Amanda clearly states her view supporting this idea while telling her daughter Laura that girls like her usually just marry ?nice men? (701). Laura lived her life listening to her mother in desperation for the male callers that were sure to come in want of her daughter. Amanda had fallen a victim to society expectations (or lack there-of) on a woman. Her daughter could not type, therefor, she would find a suitable husband to marry. This element of the setting aides the audience in realizing the gender inequalities during the time of the play.
Tom continues to talk about the way of life during this decade in America, and clearly paints the picture of the large middle-class section of society that was blindly stumbling through life, forced to live as puppets of the economy. (695) He compares the arrival of the Great Depression in St Louis to the fascist bombings in Guernica, Spain. This element of the play allows readers to better understand the economic hardships the characters are facing at this time. A single mother such as Amanda was forced to endless worries about not only her own future, but for the futures of her children as well. This is quite evident in her constant obsession with finding a husband for her daughter. One can also see this in that Amanda has accepted a life for her son that crushes all his dreams, only because it brings in a paycheck.
Williams is a master of describing the setting of his play. He is constantly pointing out details that add to the entire meaning. One is the presence of a photograph on the mantle. The picture is one of Amanda?s husband, a man who left her to fend for herself and indirectly created all of the problems she is faced with during the play. The play also takes place entirely indoors, probably conveying the idea that what is going on inside the house usually never takes place in public. While people may have their worries and fears in life, they tend to keep them inside the home rather than let other people know.
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