Susan Glaspell's Trifles and A Jury of Her Peers

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In the early 1900's Susan Glaspell wrote many works, two stand out, the play "Trifles" and the short story "A Jury of Her Peers". Trifles was written in 1920, while "A Jury of Her Peers" was written the following year. Trifles was written in only ten days. The true greatness of these works were not recognized until the 1970's.

In the short story "A Jury of Her Peers" a woman named Minnie Wright is accused of the murder of her husband. Minnie Wright is a farmer's wife and is also isolated from the out side world. There is an investigation that takes place in the home of the murder. There are three men that are involved on the case and two women accompany, but are not there to really help solve the murder. These two women will solve the murder and protect Mrs. Wright of any wrongdoing. The women will justify to themselves, that the murder was justifiable. The three men seek out to find motive, but they never do and the case will go unsolved. Glaspell uses symbolism as her a literary device to illuminate her theme. The symbols include: a jar of cherries, a bird, a quilt, kitchen, an even the type of knot that was used for her quilt. All of these details will help the two women justify the murder of Mr. Wright. I wish to show how Glaspell uses symbolism to justify the murder. I also wish to show how a disturbed farm-womon will get away with murder because of two farmwomen helping her, by getting rid of valuable evidence.

In the short story "A Jury of Her Peers" Glaspell first uses the kitchen as her first use of symbolism, to show disarray. According to one critic Kathleen Wilson"The kitchen is described as being in disorder with unwashed pans under the sink, a dishtowel left on table, a loaf of bread outside the breadbox, and other disarray. This gives the impression of no attention having been paid to cleaning up either recently or usually" (Wilson 3). The room has faded wallpaper, an old black stove, and an old iron sink with a hand pump and no curtains at the one window. The unpainted table at the center sounds old and utilitarian. The description suggests a very uninviting room with no frills or anything to brighten the area. Nothing frivolous or feminine, like flowers or colorful plates are described as being in the room. Now these are details that were very thought out to help give the reader more ambition to find their own explana...

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...tchen, and the knot that was used for her quilt. I am sympathetic to Minnie being abused by her husband, but I still think that murder was not the answer to her problems.

Works Cited

Alkalay-Gut, Karen."' Jury of Her Peer': The Importance of Trifles." Studies in

Short Fiction 21 (1989): 1-9

Ben-Zvi, Linda. "'Murder, She Wrote': The Genesis of Susan Glaspell's Trifles." Theate Journal 44 (1992): 1-21

Glaspell, Susan. "A Jury of Her Peers". Literature and the Writing Process. Elizabeth

McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 5th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice, 1999. 281-294.

Maillakais, Mike."A Woman's Place: Literary Background for Glaspell's Trifles."

Susan Glaspell Trifles. Dr. Jim Wohlpart and Lisa Crocker. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.

Smith, Beverly A. "Women's Works-Trifles The Skill and Insights of Playwright Susan

Glaspell."International Journal of Women's Studies 5 (1982): 172-184

Wilson, Kathleen. Susan Glaspell's' A Jury of Her Peers'." Women's Studies 12 (1986): 89-110. Rpt. in Short Stories for Students. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Literature Resource Center. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.
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