Exposure to isolation for a prolonged period of time has devastating consequences on the well-being of a human being. Susan Glaspell in Trifles and Anton Chekhov in The Darling portray the results of isolation through their protagonists, Mrs. Wright and Olenka. Glaspell and Chekhov prove the consequences of isolation by exploring the impacts it has on the mental health of the protagonists. Both Mrs. Wright and Olenka display changes to their psychological well-being since they experience rejection. Both female protagonists exemplify how humans can have a different life when what they love is no longer with them and they have to be alone.
Mrs. Wright and Olenka prove this idea when they can no longer engage in society’s activities as a result of their isolation. Also Mrs. Wright commits a crime however; society still judges her overlooking her motives for the crime, just as Olenka is publicly judged whenever she is not emotionally stable. As result of isolation from their peers and their community, both characters begin to feel insignificant to their surroundings. Both stories demonstrate the consequences of isolation through considerable changes in the protagonists’ lives, judgement conducted by society and the feeling of being worthless.
Truly, Susan Glaspell and Anton Chekhov illustrate depression in their protagonists which lead to life altering decisions. Throughout the two stories, Glaspell and Chekhov display changes in Mrs. Wrights and Olenkas life. Once Mrs. Wright marries, she cannot live the satisfying life she had before. For example, before being in a commitmed relationship “she used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster one of the town girls singing in the choir” (Glaspell 5). This quote demonstrates how before her marriage, Mrs. Wright could be involved in her community and do what she loves.
Once she becomes isolated however, Minnie Foster begins to change and she is not given the opportunity to live a life as she desires. Equally important, Olenka also exemplifies changes in her daily lifestyle as evident in: When she [has] Kukin, or Pustovalov, or the veterinary surgeon, Olenka could explain everything, and give her opinion about anything [anyone] [likes], but now there [is] the same emptiness in her brain and in her heart as there [is] in her yard outside (6). When Olenka is given the chance to have someone in her life, she uses it as a source of happiness and becomes dependent on the male figures in her life.
This clarifies how when Olenka has no one to be with, changes in her normal life begin to arise and she is no longer filled with happiness as she is when being with someone. Together, Mrs. Wright and Olenka reiterate how isolation will change a lifestyle from as it was before and have devastating consequences. Even though both characters carry this similar trait, they are isolated for different reasons. Mrs. Wright does not have the opportunity to change her lifestyle due to her husband’s confinement. On the other hand, Olenka becomes isolated when she loses ownership of the person she loves.
Overall, although both characters may be isolated for different reasons, both their lives result in change, because of the circumstances they are placed in. The works of fictions also reveal how isolation can lead someone to lose their motivation. Mrs. Wright’s is isolated in her house with her bird as her only source of comfort. Being at home all the time makes her feel like she [cannot] do her part and…. , [not] enjoy things when [feeling] shabby” (Glaspell 5). Indeed, Mrs. Wright has no companion to encourage her to have a stronger attitude. She is only inside with her bird which keeps her occupied and satisfied in her bad condition.
However, she still has no one to share opinions and have a voice with. Of course, gradually this brings depression upon her and automatically makes her feel differently about her abilities. Just like Mrs. Wright, Olenka too “hardly ever [goes] out, expect to church, or her husband’s grave and [leads] the life of a nun” (Chekhov 5). This displays how she is too upset because she does not have any of her loved ones in her life. For this purpose, she does not feel the need to do anything, or be in her community. In addition, her sadness is reinforced by her only visiting her husband’s grave.
Revealing how Olenka is too damaged by the loss of who she loves and still wants to be near him even after his passing. Likewise, with no one in Mrs. Wrights and Olenkas lives to show them love and communicate with them, they are not motivated to do anything, but only be full of sadness. All in all, human beings being isolated from devotion for a period of time will make them believe nothing in life has a purpose anymore. Mrs. Wright and Olenka both demonstrate unpleasant changes in their lifestyle due to the impulsive actions they perform.
Once Mrs. Wright’s bird, is killed by Mr. Wright, she begins to establish violence in her mind and loose her only hope in a purposeful life. Most importantly, she is “killing [her] [husband] while he [sleeps), slipping a rope around his neck that [chocks] the life out of him” (Glaspell 6). Surely, Mrs. Wright is very furious of her husband taking the only thing she has away from her, especially because she has no children and her bird is a symbol of her unborn children. Also, the bird is the only element that gives her spark, or hope in her life and without it, she becomes emotionally unstable and dead inside.
Due to Mrs. Wright not having anyone else to be with, she automatically goes through a lot of emotions. Her emotions and madness of the situation make her murder her husband because she believes she has no one left. Psychologically, if one person truly loves something like Mrs. Wright does and they are placed in an overwhelming experience, they will only have anger and sadness inside of them. As a result, they will be too shocked to make valuable decisions and will quickly let their emotions determine their actions.
In addition, Olenka also makes mpulsive decisions because of her current state. This is seen when Olenka sees the little boy Sasha and loves him immensely. This is different for Olenka because “of her former attachments not one had been so deep; never had her soul surrendered to any feeling so spontaneously” (Chekhov 9). Although he is just a little boy, Olenka reveals her maternal instincts since she is passionate with idea of caring for someone again and not wanting them to leave. This is a result of the position Olenka is in, she has had no one show her love and passion over a period of time.
Therefore, the first person that is back in her life after her turbulent times, makes her feel happy to have someone again and this emotion makes her fall in deep attraction towards him. Olenka is greatly affected by not having anyone in her life so she holds on to Sasha as quickly as she can because she is afraid someone will leave her again. In regards to psychology, Olenka can demonstrate how without love, a person is not whole. Both protagonists make impulsive decisions however, one leads to a murder and the second leads to an obsession.
To conclude, when a person is placed in a situation where they are powerless and have no one, they will gradually begin to develop noticeable changes in their lifestyle. In conclusion, Susan Glaspell’s Trifles and Anton Chekhov’s The Darling express life modifying decisions initiated by depression. Throughout both stores, the protagonists go through changes in their lives, judgements by society and the act of feeling worthless due to isolation. Together, Mrs. Wright and Olenka demonstrate changes in their lifestyle after marriage when what they love can no longer be in their possession.
At the same time, both are judged by the members of their society without knowledge on the events in their lives. Isolation from neighbours and the community result in Mrs. Wright and Olenka growing the sense of insignificance to others. Isolation also creates psychological changes in the characters’ well-being. If they only have the opportunity to love one thing, they will never want it taken out of their hands and if it is they will be left with a scar. On the whole, over a long period of time, isolation creates negative effects on human beings and can create a whole different person.