ABSTRACT

Susan Glaspell’s Trifles (1916) is a one-act play in which two women search for the truth about a murder in the absence of the play’s central character, Minnie Wright, who is accused of murdering her husband. The play’s dramatic components hinge on the affective shift of these two women as they break free of the masculinist ideologies that permeate the bleak setting. At the antipode of the masculine rationality, women’s affective intensity creates the connections between and among subjects and their environments. In this process, empathy toward the incarnation of Minnie arises and the reversal of values happens, recapitulating into the noncommunicative men’s rationality and communicative women’s affects. The tension between such opposing traits cast Minnie as a pharmakos, violating cultural gendered assumptions and literary conventions, enacting the emancipatory and participatory aesthetics in opposition to the coercive and transcendent male-centered aesthetics.

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