Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby and Trifles by Susan Glaspell reflects isolation and separation between women and men, African Americans and white, as well as the upper class and the lower class. The prejudice alienates characters from prosperity and realizing the American dream because there is a bias against minorities who are oppressed and detested. In the specific case of gender inequality, Desiree is a woman who is subjected to harsh treatment from her husband, Armand solely because she is a woman, and is of African descent. Mrs. Wright in Triffle faces separation and is unjustly accused by authority and society for murdering her husband, who was abusive to her. Even though the American dream promised prosperity, equality, and success for all, Desiree’s Baby and Triffles provides a different narrative because the characters of Desiree and Mrs. Wright is denied that opportunity and their role are limited and both are isolated by society because of gender and race.
American society in the pre-Civil War era, as highlighted by the text consisted of both racial and class inequality, as well as a patriarchal system. From the story, Desiree is solely dependent on Armand because of her gender. Notably, when Armand falls in love with Desiree, he treats her with love and respect because she is from an upper-class family (Chopin, 1893). However, Armand develops revulsion for his wife when she delivers a baby that shows African descent and sends both of them away (Chopin, 1893). Since Desiree status female does not allow her to overcome the oppression and inequality, she commits suicide. Therefore, women and minority groups in the antebellum era lacked fair opportunities to perform their roles in society and enjoy the acclaimed American dream.
In Trifles, sexism is prominent in the story; women were isolated, ignored, and belittled by males. For example, the court attorney tries to stereotype Mrs. Wright as a terrible housekeeper and rubbish her when they visit her house to investigate (Glaspell, 1987). However, Mrs. Hale bravely defends Mrs. Wright from belittlement and the toxic sexism onslaught (Glaspel, 1987). Mr. Wright was abusive and oppressive to his wife, but the patriarchal society failed to consider this factor and how it may have led to the wife’s reason in the murder. The community is ready to judge Mrs Wright unfairly in the crime, because of her gender. Mrs. Hale helps the main character, but regrets segregating her despite knowing the aggressive nature of her husband. Therefore, the story depicts that women were oppressed and lacked an equal opportunity to prosper in American society. Women faced neglect and separation from the community and were denied economic progress in the American dream.
In brief, the 20th century alienated women and other minorities by denying them an equal platform to develop. As highlighted by Chopin’s Desiree Baby and Glaspell’s Trifles female roles were undermined. Even though America was viewed as the land of endless opportunity for hard workers, it is clear from these two texts that the American dream was accessible to men, and the elite in society. Equality for all groups is essential for a nation’s progress.
Chopin, K. (1893). Desiree’s Baby, United States: Vogue
Glaspell, S. (1987) Trifles, Play, United Sates: Massachusetts.
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