Perhaps the most prevalent literary device in Trifles is the rich symbolism. Each of the women in the play are equally important, but come together to become more powerful. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters directly bond, while Mrs. Wright indirectly contributes from jail by leaving them small clues. In Greek mythology, there are three sisters known as The Fates, who control the existence of men, and each of the women in Trifles seem to parallel The Fates. Mrs. Hale is strong witted, and sympathizes with Minnie from the beginning, likely because they were friends in their youth. Mrs. Hale describes Minnie as formerly singing “real pretty herself” (Glaspell p666). The connection between Minnie and the canary is established here, and in the bird’s physical death parallels Minnie’s emotional death (Russell). Mrs. Hale’s keen wit and patience contributes to her embodiment of The Fate sister named Clotho the Spinner, which even more evident in her correcting of Minnie Wright’s improper stitching (Russell). Mrs. Peters begins the process of investigation deeply devoted to keeping the law. She doesn 't want any disruption in the house saying, “I don 't think we ought to touch things” (Glaspell p 666) when Mrs. Hale began searching for clues. Upon finding the dead canary, Mrs. Peters view on the situation changes drastically, and she decides with Mrs. Hale to hide the tiny dead bird from the men. They both figure that if the dead canary was discovered, Mrs. Wright would be thoug...
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...ey leave” (Mustazza). Mrs. Peters knew the men would believe such a statement, because women were supposed to be concerned with unimportant things such as superstitions, and they would both be able to hide their genius.
Through her use of symbolism, differentiating sexes, and well- constructed characters, Glaspell shows readers that gender roles aren’t correct. The strong women characters in Trifles allow for feminist discussion, but also question the classic gender roles present at any point in time. Through the crime committed by Minnie Wright, three women grow together and establish that justice for all is deeper than finding the culprit. Justice occurs in all things, in hiding the clues by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, in the quiet dignity they both have by helping their friend, and by proving that women are capable of anything they are determined to accomplish.
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