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Essay on The Danger in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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The Danger in Susan Glaspell's Trifles


Susan Glaspell's 'Trifles' is a play about a real life murder case that uses
symbolism to help bring it to a close. It is easy to see that Mr. and Mrs. Wright live
in a society that is cut off from the outside world and also strongly separated by
gender. Three of the key symbols in Glaspell's play are a simple bird cage, a quilt,
and isolationism. Anna Uong of Virginia Tech and Karen Shelton of JSRCC share
these same ideas on symbolism. These three symbols are the main clues that help
the reader decide who killed Mr. Wright.

The bird cage that was found is one of the most profound symbols in the
story. Mrs. Hale describes Minnie as, 'kind of like a bird herself, real sweet and
pretty but kind of timid and fluttery'(841). The bird and Minnie are similar because
they are both caged in. When Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find the broken birdcage,
they think nothing of it until they discover the bird. He was found wrapped in a
cloth inside of a small box, with his neck wrung. 'Mrs. Wright wrapped the dead
bird in a silk cloth and placed it inside a fancy box; this symbolises her cherishing of
her past life.'(Uong, 1) When John strangles the life out of Minnie's bird, he also
strangles the life out of Minnie. The broken birdcage that was found represents
Minnie's liberation from John. Just like the bird, Minnie has now freed herself from
John by killing him.

The second symbol that ties the story tog...


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