Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay

Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay

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Trifles by Susan Glaspell

In the short play "Trifles,” by Susan Glaspell, various questions and issues originate concerning with the bond between women, the difference between male and female, and what life was like in the early nineteen century for women. In addition, the importance and development of symbols are crucial. Throughout the play, Glaspell uses symbols to further and support Minnie’s isolation and lack of happiness in her life.
Although the answers may be evident there is room for guesswork and doubt. The play is cleverly written because we are never introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Wright, to whom the entire dialogue and mystery is surrounding. This lack of the main characters makes it hard to know what really went on and whether anything was warranted or not. However, the intelligent use of symbols by Glaspell allows the reader to capture and examine various meanings. While the men are looking for clues and evidence against Minnie, they only seem to see a messy house that is inadequately taken care of (1618). At the same time, the women see a very different picture when they discovered a birdcage.
As Mrs. Peters examines the birdcage she notices that the door is broken and mentions, “looks as if someone must have been rough with it” (1622). Neither woman knows if Minnie had a bird and Mrs. Hale contemplates the idea of the cat killing it. “ No, she didn’t have a cat…” Mrs. Peters replied. They later discover a dead bird wrapped in a piece of silk. Mrs. Peters exclaims, “ Somebody---wrung---its---neck” (1623). They heard steps approaching and Mrs. Hale hides the box with the dead bird under quilt pieces. The climax of the play is when the men return and county attorney sees the birdcage and questions the women a...


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... dialogue between the two women leads us to believe that Minnie’s husband broke the cage, representing Minnie’s life, and killed the bird. Both women take measures to make sure that the men do not learn this information and mislead the men in the existence of a dead bird. The idea of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters being a panel of judges and not convicting Minnie lends credibility to the dispute that women were struggling against male oppression. Mrs. Hale, if anything, is definitely resentful of the men’s uncaring and criticizing comments towards the women. The men believe women give too much importance to little things and trifles (1618). Yet, the little things that the men dismiss are all that the women need to discern what happened to John Wright. On the other hand, her peers remember Minnie as a decent woman who used to have a life before she became a caged bird.

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