Today's Woman Vs. Yesterday's



Women of today have come a long way since the periods portrayed in the dramas "Trifles,"

written by Susan Glaspell, and "Doll House," written by Henrik Ibsen. In both dramas, the characters

played by women were portrayed as nothing more than property which should be seen and not heard. This

is typical of society in the late 1800's and early 1900's, which is the time setting in which these dramas take

place.

In the drama "Trifles," the male characters known as Henry Peters (sheriff) and George Henderson

(county attorney) strut around like roosters making lewd, sexist remarks while investigating the murder of

farmer John Wright. The two farm women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, while forced to listen to such

barbaric comments, actually end up solving the murder. Throughout the drama, the male characters are

made to walk around the farm house looking for clues. Unfortunately, they do this from a male's point of

view and are completely oblivious to the unseen environment around them.

During this time, the two ladies sit silently conversing between themselves about the tragedy, and

actually find clues to the hows and whys of the suspect without really looking. The female characters in

this drama are written to be very perceptive and understanding about what happens in everyday life in a

country home, since they too are country homemakers. With this information, which the men do not share,

they notice small insignificant looking items which appear to be out of place. Through deductive

reasoning, the women were able to figure out that John Wright's wife had been abused for many years. Not

physical abuse, but severe mental abuse. The abuse seemed to reach its zenith when her husband killed her

canary by ringing the bird's neck. This signifies a symbol of the life and freedom she once had.

In the drama "Doll House," the main character named Nora is a woman who has gone through life

being treated as if she were a "china doll." She was not unlike a china doll to be placed high on a pedestal,

never to be heard from except when spoken to, or when asked to entertain her husband Torvald, their

children or a group of Torvald's friends.

As the story progresses, Ibsen creates a climax in the theme when Torvald finds out that Nora

forged her father's name on a document to obtain money for a trip to Italy. This trip to Italy was necessary

in order to save his life. Society had a certain stigmatism about the women of the late 1800's. Women

were not thought to have been as smart as men, and were therefore not expected to understand the

complicated world of money and especially the repercussions of getting a loan from places other than a

banking institution. At this point, Nora receives a miracle she has not been looking forward to. The

miracle turned out to be a test in which she finds out that their storybook love is not as strong to Torvald as

she had imagined and hoped for. This particular scene in the drama gave the impression of morning sun

rays tapping on the petals on a morning glory. With this, the reader begins to witness the blossoming of a

flower. Nora's eyes open for what appears to be the firs!

t time in her life, and she makes the decision to leave her life and family in search for a new beginning.

For a male author born and raised in the 1800's, Ibsen does a fine job of looking at a relationship

of this kind from a woman's point of view.

However, women of today would not put up with either one of these situations. The women of

today are more assertive and demanding than they used to be. There are many women today who are just

as good if not better than their male counterparts. Some of the most successful people in today's society are

women. With the passage of the right for women to vote and the women's movement of the late sixties and

early seventies, women have deservingly "Come a Long Way Baby."