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Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay

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The definition of “trifles” is something that does not have much value or importance. In the play “Trifles”, Susan Glaspell illustrates the differences between men and women by the details that they notice and the things that each person considers to be important or necessary. In the play, Mrs. Wright is the main suspect for her husband’s murder. Mr. Henderson, Mr. Peters, and Mr. Hale are the three men in the play that are searching the entire house for physical evidence to prove Mrs. Wright as guilty. The two other women in the play are Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale and their behaviors are completely opposite from the men’s. Since the women are more focused on the small details of Mrs. Wright’s everyday life, they are able to find the most important piece of evidence that the men would never find on their own. By observing the key behaviors of the men and women and their roles, Glaspell illustrates the real meaning and attitude of “trifles” within the play.
In the play, the men mock the women several times for the things that they are noticing. For example, they laugh when the women try to decide whether or not Mrs. Wright was knotting the quilt that they find. When the entire group first begins to scope out the house, they find that the jars of preserves are broken in the cupboard from the cold weather. At this point, the county attorney points out that Mrs. Wright will have more serious things that she is going to have to worry about. As a result, Mr. Hale says “women are used to worrying over trifles” (Glaspell, 1156). Throughout the entire play, the women are noticing these small details such as the jars and the quilt that the men see as unimportant. The play emphasizes a “fundamental difference between the women’s actions and...


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...gs” (Holstein, 284). It is also important to note that “none of the play’s characters ever recognizes the irony, for the women accept the designation of their concerns as mere ‘trifles’” (Holstein, 284). Therefore, Glaspell shows that the details that the women noticed were actually very important even though each of the men considered these details to be small and insignificant to the overall case.



Works Cited

Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. Literature. Ed. Joe Terry. California: Pearson, 2013. 1153-1163. Print.
Holstein , Suzy. "Silent Justice in a Different Key: Glaspell's "Trifles" ." Midwest Quarterly . 44.3 (2003): 282-290. Web.
Sutton , Brian . "“A Different Kind of the Same Thing”: Marie de Frances Laustic and Glaspell’s Trifles”."Heldrof Publications. (2008): 170-174. Web.
“Trifles”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc., 2013.



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