Susan Glaspell's Trifles - Little Things Mean a Lot

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Little Things Mean a Lot in Trifles

Susan Glaspell's play, Trifles, explores the fact that women pay attention to the little things that may lead to the solving of a bigger problem. Why are women so into the little things? The attention to detail seems to be the starting point to solving the bigger problem. Think of the little things as pieces of a puzzle. When the small pieces come together you see the bigger picture. In the play Trifles the men seem to think the women only worry about the little things, or trifles. What the men do not realize is that the women are actually solving the murder by worrying, or trifling, over the small details. To really understand this aspect we have to look at the play itself. The first example of the attention to detail is the fruit preserves. In lines seventy-eight to seventy-nine Mrs. Peters says, "She worried about that when it turned so cold. She said the fire'd go out and her jars would break." To which the Sheriff replies, "Well, can you beat the women! Held for murder and worrin' about her preserves." In line eighty-three Mr. Hale says, "Well, women are use to worrying over trifles." If Mrs. Wright had not been preoccupied, she could have started a fire to keep the preserves from freezing. Another example of trifling is noticing that Mrs. Wright did not awake while her husband was being strangled to death. Unless the Wrights slept in separate beds, Mrs. Wright should have felt the struggle between her husband and the murderer. Even though Mrs. Wright said she was a deep sleeper, she still should have heard the gasping for air and the struggle that was going on right next to her. Another thing that seemed very strange to everybody was that there was a gun in the house. Why not use the gun? Why use the rope? According to the essay, On Susan Glaspell's Trifles, the author notes, "The strangling of Mr. Wright, which perplexes all when a gun was handy, is reminiscent of the strangling of that bird (1)." The third example of noticing the small things is the piecing of the quilt. The women were wondering if she was going to knot it or quilt it. The Sheriff over hears the conversation and says to the County Attorney in line one hundred and sixty-three, "They wonder if she was going to quilt it or just knot it!" In lines one hundred and sixty-six to sixty-seven Mrs.

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