Comparison Of Trifles And Fences

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In almost all societies there exist many different social roles between men and women. This in most cases is justified by the biological differences that leads to a cultural difference between the two genders. In these plays, “Fences” and “Trifles” there are many different factors that can be comparable to one another.

Fences by August Wilson, we see Troy having to leave his home though poor and young to start up his life in a different place. Due to the fact that his father was acting in unacceptable ways and that fact that he was a man. This clearly demonstrates that men have dominance and freedom unlike women who have to stay in a troubled environment. The male dominance over women leads to ignorance since men perceive women as the weaker sex and in most cases overrule the female judgements and opinions. The roles of women and characters differ in the play, Trifles by Susan Glaspell. Mrs. Hale is the protagonist of Trifles. Mrs. Hale puts up with a daily onslaught of sexism. Mrs. Hale isn’t afraid to go up against men with authority, like Mr. Henderson, the County Attorney.

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In Fences, the setting is simple yet powerful. The yard of the main character, Troy. This gives the play a powerful aspect as it allows us readers to concentrate on the important issues of a father and son relationship. This play is very informative as the playwright explains the experience of African Americans during that time. The set reminds us that money is a constant concern for Troy and his family as we see the dirt yard, two story brick houses, in a back alley. Trifles setting takes place during the winter months in 1916 on a farmhouse owned by the victim of an apparent strangulation. The setting of a cold, bitter, lifeless winter and the isolation of living on a farm acts as the objective of Minnie Wrights loneliness. During the 1900s women possessed little to no voice in the affairs of men, or even in their homes.

The plot structure of these two plays are quite similar yet follow a slightly different path. Fences begins with the initial situation, of being explained that Troy is a garbage man and even is cheating on his dedicated wife, Rose. Then comes the conflict of Troy’s son, Cory who got offered a football scholarship. Troy claims that Cory will be discriminated against, just like he was during his baseball days. A major complication arises when we learn that Troy has gone to Cory’s coach to tell him that Cory cannot play football anymore. Now Cory’s chances of going to college are destroyed. Tensions begin to build when we find out about Troy’s affair with his mistress, Alberta, becomes pregnant. After Alberta dies in childbirth, Rose agrees to raise the child but is no longer married to Troy. The play then jumps ahead a few years later on the day of Troy’s funeral. In the final moments of the play, Troy’s brother Gabriel shows up and is determined for the gates of heaven to open up for Troy. Trifles begins with all the characters showing up at Wrights gloomy farmhouse. The county attorney and the other men are here to find clues, and the women are going to collect things for Mrs. Wright. The rising actions includes the men hunting for clues but take breaks to make sexist remarks at Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. The first big complication happens when the ladies find a dead canary, which is evidence of Mrs. Wrights motive for murdering him. The climax or highest tensions is when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters decide to hide the dead bird from the men to take a stand for Mrs. Wright and women as a whole. There is not a falling action of this story just jumping right to the Denouement which is Mrs. Hale making a smart comment to the Attorney while pressing her hand to the dead canary in her pocket. The men are clueless, but we know the women won.

Fences is a portrayal of family life of how its characters view their roles as individual family members and how they each define their commitment or duty to the family. It also explores how betrayal can break the family bond. Another theme in this play could be that there had been some progress made on race relations during this time such as segregation of pro sports teams. However, as a whole, America had a really long way to go. Trifles is thought of as one of the first feminist dramas. The play shows us a time in America where women are neglected, ignored, and generally belittled by men. All of this comes to a head where two women hide evidence that could convict another housewife of murdering her husband.

Because of all these factors that easily broke down the play for us it is easy to understand how these two plays are similar yet different. There are two different but very important issues being displayed throughout these plays that can teach us a lesson and are entirely lasting problems in our day to day lives.    


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