Theories of the Gaze Crossing Feminisms: Trifles as a Site to Ponder the Fundamentals

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, English Language and Literature Department, Ilam Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ilam, Iran



Ever since the publication of Susan Glaspell's play in one act, Trifles, in 1916, it has become a playground for different feminist theories to counterpart, many of which struggle to categorize the play as a reproduction of the traditional gender roles set by patriarchy. Since there seems to be no unity in defining the term 'feminism,' many believe that it would do justice to call its varieties, 'feminisms'. Being one of the most well-known terms in feminism, men's gaze has been viewed and reviewed constantly throughout the years. Yet, what seems to be new to this field is the concept of the 'female gaze'. Unlike anti-essentialists, essentialist feminists believe in embracing the 'essential' differences between men and women. Therefore, this paper analyzes Glaspell's play in the light of these two points of view on feminism, especially the theories of gaze, and looks for a shared ground for reconciliation. So, by delving into these theories, the researcher eventually concludes that although Trifles is criticizing the female status in a patriarchal society, relating all associated with her to 'trifles,' at the same time, it reproduces the traditional gender roles by approving essentially feminine characteristics which need to be celebrated instead of criticized.


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Volume 5, Issue 1 - Serial Number 9
January 2023
Pages 31-45
  • Receive Date: 04 November 2021
  • Revise Date: 15 April 2022
  • Accept Date: 04 July 2022
  • First Publish Date: 04 January 2023