‘Snow’ and ‘Trifles

‘Snow’ and ‘Trifles.

A Comparative Essay of two stories ‘Snow’ and ‘Trifles’.

The two pieces of work, ‘Snow’ and ‘Trifles’ both focuses the role of women in the society, significantly portraying how certain gender limitations, prevent women from participating in some fundamental issues that affect the societies they live in. In a number of ways, ‘Snow’ demonstrates how women traverse the boundaries of gender limitations, subsequently, finding themselves better positions in the society. On the other hand, ‘Trifles’ is themed on a society defined by very strict rules that limit women from participating in the most basic civil functions in their societies such as voting or participating in political arenas.

In ‘snow’, the author introduces  his story by the mention of  ‘hefty women in long black gowns’ who are from a group known as Sisters of Charity teaching at a nearby Catholic school (Alvarez 101) . To note here is the mode of dressing that these women are to adhere to; long black gowns. The author even makes a joke of how they look in the gowns. This is one of the ways in which inequality in gender is illustrated in the story. Though the women are from a catholic group, they are restricted to a particular dress code which they have to conform too.

Similarly, in ‘Trifles’, the author adequately demonstrates how women are kept away from participating in some of the most basic activities in their society.  A good illustration of this is the fact that both the Sherriff and the County Attorney are of the male gender. Further, when the play commences, we are told that while the County Commander and the Sherriff engage at the circumstances surrounding the incidence, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Hale stand together closer to the do with so little to say or ask. All they do is to listen and only discuss the matter between them (Glaspell 556). This in one of the ways through which the story compares the similarities on how women are viewed and treated in the society due to a number of gender limitations.

Secondly, in both stories, women are confined to the lesser activities of their society. For instance, in ‘Snow’, the Sisters of Charity are confined to religion and only through his have they managed to become teachers in the mentioned Catholic school. Had they not been members of the said religious group, they possibly would not be teachers. It is a religion that enables them to climb to such positions. In ‘Trifles’, women are continuously shown as only capable of carrying out household chores. To perfectly illustrate this, Glaspell talks of Mrs. Wright pleating her apron when the County Attorney and the Sherriff enter her house (557). The two authors basically strive to show how our societies more often than not, reduce women to creatures who are only capable of the least. Gender imbalances and inequalities are however some of the things that greatly affect our societies. In most cases, women are judged by their gender rather than their ability to do the job. Consequently, Women are sidelined when it comes to issues affecting their societies, some of which can only be effectively be handled and addressed by women.

However, the two stories differ in several ways. In the story ‘Snow’, women are given much more credit compared to the recognition given to them in ‘Trifles’. The Sisters of Charity described in ‘Snow’ are teachers at a Catholic School. The fact that these women hold teaching positions has been used by the author to show that women too are capable of much more in their societies. Surprising enough is the fact that these women are so much aware of whatever is happening not only in their societies but also in the world at large a good example of this is when one Sister Zoe explains to her class what was happening in Cuba. Not only did she teach the class basic subjects like English, she also understood the world of politics and would from time to time explain to her students what was happening in their Country and Oversees. This is one way that the author uses to describe the importance of women in the society. All that the woman is trying to bring out is the fact that despite the fact that these teachers were Catholic Sisters, they knew what was going on in their country and capable of passing the same information to their students.

On the other hand, in ‘Trifles’, women are not accorded as much recognition in the society. In this story, women are viewed as homemakers. The County Attorney even suggests that Mrs. Wright had homemaking instinct (Glaspell 558). Additionally, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are seen in the kitchen arranging pans and putting things in order, which were previously shoved out of place by the men particularly the County Attorney. Mrs. Hale is also seen wiping the sink a clear indication that kitchen duties were obviously viewed as women’s. Similarly, in the play, women have formed their own organization by the name Ladies Aid which supposedly was the avenue through which women were could discuss issues amongst themselves. Even those that seemed to be more enlightened were relegated to positions of lesser status than their professional of personal achievements or qualifications. The story therefore largely diminishes the role of women it the society only reducing them to homemakers.

The other visible difference is the fact that in ‘Snow’, women are accorded a chance to go to school and learn. We learn of a female immigrant who gets an equal chance to attend school just like the other students. According to Alvarez, this particular student by the name Yolanda is actually put in a special seat in the first row so that her teacher would tutor her on the English language being the only immigrant in their class (101). The teacher’s action clearly represents a society free from gender biases. The fact that she went an extra mile to tutor the girl on the English language is a clear indication that she and the fellow teachers and students wanted her to fit in regardless of her gender or nationality. This is unlike what is observed in ‘Trifles.’ In the story, there is nowhere that the author mentions that women were free to go to school and attain professional qualifications. After all, how would going to school benefit them when they could not even participate in the most basic civil activities such as voting or engaging in politics? In the story, women are continuously downplayed in a jungle ruled by their male counterparts, they have a little voice if any and even those that are adequately qualified to participate in matters such as politics are only relegated to much lesser positions.

In Conclusion, from the above two stories, gender inequality or gender imbalance has been the major, focus on the authors. The most important difference between the two stories is the treatment accorded to women in their societies. While in ‘Snow’ the women can attend school and even learn about the war that s about to hit their country, in ‘Trifles’, women are not even allowed to participate in the slightest political issues affecting their nations. The difference in sexes is so present that women do not have the most basic right, that is, the right to vote.  The same is also present I today’s world where there continues to be an underrepresentation of women in most spheres of life particularly in politics (Henning 1). Gender inequality remains a problem that needs to be addressed in order to fully realize human development.


Works Cited


Alvarez, Julia. “Snow.” How the Garcia Girls lost their Ascent. 1st  Ed. New York: Turtle Books. 1991:101. Print

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.”  Plays by Susan Glaspell. Ed. C.W.E. Bigsby. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1987:555-561. Print

Henning, Benjamin. “Global Gender Inequality.” Viewsoftheworld.net, http://www.viewsoftheworld.net/?p=4475. Accessed 03 November 2016.


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‘Snow’ and ‘Trifles

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