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Trifle Play Analysis Essay

Analysis of Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” Essay

1101 Words5 Pages

The single act play “Trifles” is loosely based on the murder of a farmer in the state of Iowa in the early nineteenth century, which Glaspell reported on while working as a journalist. The farmer’s wife was accused of the murder, and was initially convicted, but later acquitted. Literary analysts note that Glaspell “approached the case like a detective” (Bryan and Wolf). More than a decade after that incident, when she was a career writer, analysts describe, “in a span of ten days, Glaspell composed a one-act play” being inspired from that real life murder event (Bryan and Wolf). In “Trifles,” while the county attorney and sheriff, along with Mr. Hale are investigating the murder of Mr. Wright, the female companions Mrs. Hale and Mrs.…show more content…

In her marriage, Mrs. Wright did not have children and that made the place “a quite house” (1391). This, along with her isolated surrounding atmosphere, made her feel lonelier. The place where Mrs. Wright lives is not so pleasant, and as Mrs. Hale ponders, “may be because it’s down in a hollow”, and no visibility of the people around (1391). Also, because of her marriage conditions, Minnie was forced to alienate herself from meeting with other ladies. Because of her loneliness and her inherent vivacious personality, she attached herself to the singing canary. Minnie suffocated in her marriage with the imposing John Wright. The town knows John as a good man because “he didn’t drink, and kept his word,” and also “paid his debts” (1391). However, he is not a very friendly person, nor easy to get along with, and he is “like a raw wind that gets to the bone” because of his uncompassionate relationships with people (1391). Mrs. Hale “doesn’t think a place’d be any cheerfuller for John Wright being in it” (1388). John was a very greedy and stringent person, as Mrs. Hale recalls, “Wright was close,” and that made Minnie to “kept so much to herself” (1389). Even the neighbor Mr. Hale knows about John, as he tells the attorney, “what his wife wanted made (not) much difference to John” (1386). It doesn’t surprise Mrs. Hale why Minnie had the bird, because John is “no

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The use of dramatic technique is always a great tool to master when explaining important details in a work of literature. Author Susan Glaspell is no exception to this rule. She uses her own dramatic technique in order to discuss the politics of gender, the unnoticed and repressed value of the role of women, the social and gender conventions in a male dominant society, freedom of speech, and the belief in woman's rights. The technique she uses is the impact of being invisible. The use of one invisible character serves well to this purpose in one of Glaspell's plays, Trifles. The invisible heroine controls the action and raises several important issues along the way. It forces the readers to be engaged more actively and to consider all the…show more content…

It is by her invisibility in the play that the women notice all the “trifles” and that the men at the end of the play know no more than at the beginning.
How does the audience know so much about Mrs. Wright even though she is not present in the play? Her personal items help us reflect on her life as well as reflect on the circumstances that led her to kill her husband. Interpreting all the clues that Minnie Foster left around the house, the women come to the conclusion that her marriage deprived her of happiness, liveliness and joy, and eventually transformed her into a different woman. The audience also comes to a conclusion that Minnie was not alone, that there were many women who were dealing with the same problems, alone. The two women in the play realize that they also share Minnie’s destiny. Consequently, the women are faced with a moral dilemma in having to make a decision whether to reveal what they had found out and send Mrs. Wright to prison. This is where the idea of the sisterhood comes to life as the two characters purposely hide the evidence of the dead canary. Minnie's bird and the empty cage help the audience realize that she was leading a life in captivity. The importance of the bird involves raises several issues. For starters, it is a clue to solving the murder, because the strangled bird provided a motive for it. Mrs. Hale concludes

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