Kate Chopin and Susan Glaspell are two of the most important feminist writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both women wrote about the experiences of women in a male-dominated society, and both sought to challenge the status quo. Desiree’s Baby and Trifles are two of their most famous works.
Desiree’s Baby is a short story by Kate Chopin that was first published in 1892. The story tells the tale of a young woman named Desiree who falls in love with a man named Armand. However, when she gives birth to their child, it is clear that the child is not white. Armand becomes enraged, and Desiree is forced to leave her home and her child behind.
Trifles is a play by Susan Glaspell that was first performed in 1916. The play tells the story of a group of women who are investigating the murder of a man named John Wright. As they investigate, they find that the victim’s wife, Minnie, may have been responsible for his death. However, the men in charge of the investigation are only interested in finding evidence that will convict Minnie, and they ignore the women’s insights.
A caste system of the 19th century is described by Kate Chopin and Susan Glaspell in Their Baby, which focuses on the theme of women’s inferiority relative to marriage, gender, and career prospects in a society’s caste system. These two authors can be viewed as feminists of their eras, given that they focus on the topic of women’s comparative weakness in comparison to men with respect to marriage, gender equality, and professional goals. Many readers would assume that these two writers were extremely progressive in their views.
Kate Chopin’s story, Desiree’s Baby, focuses on the marriage between Armand Aubigny and Desiree. Their marriage is one that is not happy. Armand does not love his wife and she knows it. The child that they have together, a son, is also treated poorly by Armand. In fact, he treats the child so poorly that the child eventually dies. Susan Glaspell’s story, Trifles, focuses on the marriage between John Wright and Minnie Foster.
Their marriage is one in which John Wright controls everything. He even controls what his wife can wear and how she should act. Eventually, Minnie kills her husband with a stocking because she can’t take it anymore. Kate Chopin and Susan Glaspell both present marriages that are not happy and in which the husband controls everything.
The difference is that Kate Chopin’s story has a bit more of a focus on race, while Susan Glaspell’s story has a bit more of a focus on gender. Kate Chopin’s story is set in the South during the time of slavery, while Susan Glaspell’s story is set in the Midwest during the time of the early 20th century. Both stories deal with the theme of control, but they do so from different perspectives.
Many of today’s readers would undoubtedly sympathize with the difficulties faced by prior generations of women. The females in each tale are inferior to their male counterparts. In Desiree’s Baby, Desiree knows she must believe and follow her marital promises of fidelity, obediently, and respect.
Armand refuses to listen to rumors and instead goes on thinking that his wife is a white woman. He avoids both his wife and child. Desiree asks Armand whether she should leave, Shall I go, Armand? Do you wish me to go?Armand believes that his wife is not a white woman because he shuns her and the baby .
Mrs. Wright from Trifles, on the other hand, is accused of murdering her husband. She is portrayed as an oppressed housewife who can no longer endure her suffocating marriage. When Mr. Hale arrives at the Wrights’ home, he finds Mrs. Wright in a daze and does not think to ask her any questions about what has happened (Glaspell 1248).
The sheriff and his men come to arrest her without any regard for due process or a fair trial. In both stories, Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby and Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, the female characters are used as objects or property with no voice or agency of their own.
Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby tells the story of a young woman who is married to a wealthy man in Louisiana. Desiree is unaware of her own heritage and when she gives birth to a baby with African features, her husband accuses her of infidelity and forces her to leave their home.
Armand’s characterisation also indicates his control over his wife. When Desiree notices a strange, terrible change in her husband’s behavior, which she is hesitant to ask him about (358), this is evidence of his dominance over her. Women were not allowed to question their spouses during this period.
In Trifles, the sheriff’s wife is mentioned to be Mrs. Peters and married to the law (Glaspell 65). She is inconsequential and akin to property that one owns, belonging more to her male husband than anything else. Mrs. Hale tells her, But Mrs. Hale, the law is the law (61). Her husband has made the rule for everyone and for her in particular.
Even though, she is a victim of being dominated by her husband, she does not see herself as one because it is all that she has ever known. Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby and Susan Glaspell’s Trifles both display marriages where the man dominates the woman through different aspects.
Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby focuses on how Armand controls Desiree through marriage while Susan Glaspell’s Trifles emphasizes how Mr. Wright controls Mrs. Peters through the law. Although both stories are about control in marriages, Desiree’s Baby displays more physical control while Trifles represents more psychological control.
In Kate Chopin’s story, “Desiree’s Baby”, Armand dominates Desiree through their marriage. Armand is a very wealthy man and because of that, he believes that he is better than everyone else, especially Desiree. Armand is always telling Desiree what she can and cannot do. For example, when Desiree wants to go into town, Armand tells her that she cannot go because it is not safe.
Armand also controls what Desiree wears. He does not want her to wear anything that would show off her body because he believes that it is only for him. Armand also dominates Desiree emotionally. He is always making her feel guilty for things that she has no control over, like the fact that she is not as wealthy as he is.