The single act play “Trifles” is loosely based on the murder of a farmer in the state of Iowa in the early nineteenth century, which Glaspell reported on while working as a journalist. The farmer’s wife was accused of the murder, and was initially convicted, but later acquitted. Literary analysts note that Glaspell “approached the case like a detective” (Bryan and Wolf). More than a decade after that incident, when she was a career writer, analysts describe, “in a span of ten days, Glaspell composed a one-act play” being inspired from that real life murder event (Bryan and Wolf). In “Trifles,” while the county attorney and sheriff, along with Mr. Hale are investigating the murder of Mr. Wright, the female companions Mrs. Hale and Mrs. …show more content…
In her marriage, Mrs. Wright did not have children and that made the place “a quite house” (1391). This, along with her isolated surrounding atmosphere, made her feel lonelier. The place where Mrs. Wright lives is not so pleasant, and as Mrs. Hale ponders, “may be because it’s down in a hollow”, and no visibility of the people around (1391). Also, because of her marriage conditions, Minnie was forced to alienate herself from meeting with other ladies. Because of her loneliness and her inherent vivacious personality, she attached herself to the singing canary. Minnie suffocated in her marriage with the imposing John Wright. The town knows John as a good man because “he didn’t drink, and kept his word,” and also “paid his debts” (1391). However, he is not a very friendly person, nor easy to get along with, and he is “like a raw wind that gets to the bone” because of his uncompassionate relationships with people (1391). Mrs. Hale “doesn’t think a place’d be any cheerfuller for John Wright being in it” (1388). John was a very greedy and stringent person, as Mrs. Hale recalls, “Wright was close,” and that made Minnie to “kept so much to herself” (1389). Even the neighbor Mr. Hale knows about John, as he tells the attorney, “what his wife wanted made (not) much difference to John” (1386). It doesn’t surprise Mrs. Hale why Minnie had the bird, because John is “no
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Hale and Mrs. Peters find a dead canary and a broken bird cage, it becomes obvious that Mr. Wright was an aggressive and controlling husband. Mrs. Hale states, “No, Wright wouldn’t like the bird- a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that, too” (1012). The canary represents Minnie Foster. Before she married Mr. Wright, she was a joyful girl who sang in the church choir. After her and Mr. Wright get married, she is forced to stop singing and is stripped of her happiness. The broken cage represents Mr. and Mrs. Wright’s controlling marriage. The bird cage is violently broken to represent how Mrs. Wright violently escaped her marriage. The women’s discoveries cause Mrs. Peters to sympathize with Mrs. Wright. Ultimately, Mrs. Peters decides to stand up for what she believes.
Mrs. Wright eventually deteriorated just has her environment, her rocking chair, and the canary. In “Jury of Her Peers” Minnie Wright’s situation illustrates many women of the world. In the story and in our society many woman are stereotyped in the marriage to complete all home duties and take of care the children while consumed in pleasing their husband. While doing so we lose ourselves. While reading the store I also realized how blessed I am to be symbolized as a modern
In “A Jury of Her Peers,” Minnie Wright grows up in Dickson county along with: Mr. Lewis Hale, Mrs. Martha Hale, Harry Hale, Mrs. Peters, Mr. Peters, Mr. John Wright, and Mr. George Henderson. Minnie Foster is known to others as a sweet and cheerful young girl. After marrying John Wright, Minnie Wright is not seen or spoken of throughout the town, “Time and time again it had been in her mind ‘I ought to go over and see Minnie Foster’--she still thought of her as Minnie Foster, though for twenty years she had been
Susan Glaspell’s one-act play “Trifles” was written in 1916. It was written based on real events. When Glaspell was a reporter, she covered a murder case in a small town in Iowa. Later, she wrote this short play which was inspired by her investigation and what she observed. Glaspell used irony, symbolism, and setting in her creation of the authentic American drama, “Trifles”, to express life for women in a male-dominated society in the early nineteen hundreds.
The play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell is type of murder mystery that takes place in the early 1900’s. The play begins when the sheriff Mr. Peters and county attorney Mr. Henderson come to attempt to piece together what had happen on the day that Mr. Wright was murder. While investigating the seen of the murder, they are accompanied by the Mr. Hale, Mrs. Hale and Mr. Peters. Mr. Hale had told that Mrs. Wright was acting strange when he found her in the kitchen. After taking information from Mr. Hale, the men leave the women in the kitchen and go upstairs at seen of the murder. The men don’t realize the plot of the murder took place in the kitchen.
People seen that “she use to wear pretty clothes and be lively- when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls and [sung] in the choir” (A Jury). It was noticeable to others that she had hanged after getting married. People in the town knew about Mr. Wright's character. They said that he was a good but cold man. He liked to keep his personal life and house quite, giving off a unhappy feeling to others. Mrs. Hale said, “Yes- good; he didn't drink…kept his word…and paid his debt. But he was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to [spend] the day with him (Shivers.) Like a raw wind that gets to the bone” (Trifles 1417). They did not have any children or pets and that also added to Mrs. Wright loneliness. He was also gone off to work for most of the day, leaving Mrs. Wright at home by herself.
One of the women made the comment that Mrs. Wright used to be pretty and happy, when she was Minnie Foster not Minnie Wright. This is just the beginning of realizing that she was just pushed to far into depression and couldn't live up to John Wright's expectations anymore. The Wrights had no children and Mrs. Wright was alone in the house all day long. The women perceive John Wright to be a controlling husband who in fact probably wouldn't have children and this may have upset Mrs. Wright. They eventually find vacant bird cage and ponder upon what happened to the bird, realizing Mrs. Wright was lonely they figured she loved the bird and it kept her company. The women make reference to the fact that Mrs. Wright was kind of like a bird herself, and that she changed so much since she married John Wright. They begin looking for stuff to bring her and they find the bird dead and they realize someone had wrung its neck. This is when they realize Mrs. Wright was in fact pushed to far, John Wright had wrung her bird's neck and in return Minnie Wright wrung his.
When the two women come across the empty, broken bird-cage, they ponder the reason for the broken door and the fate of the canary who occupied it. Later they discover the dead bird wrapped in silk with its neck broken, presumably by the hands of Mr. Wright. The bird symbolizes Minnie Foster, the young choir girl. The dead bird symbolizes Minnie after marriage, when she loses her spirit, and the cage symbolizes her husband who mistreats and isolates her. While describing Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Hale compares her to the bird when she says to Mrs. Peters, " She used to sing real pretty herself”. ( 576) Literary critic Janet Stobbs Wright states," Only as a picture emerges of the way in which Minnie Foster has been changed by her marriage to John Wright, is a process of identification between the two women initiated".
Henderson, when she says how she didn't think a “place’d be any more cheerful for John Wright’s being in it” (1051). And for the woman once known as Minnie Foster, it was that same man who eroded her until she no longer was one of the town girls as she had been thirty years before, no longer a woman who sang in the choir, her happy, hopeful spirit, gone. Her final comfort in that otherwise drained and dreary home was that little singing canary that she had bought a year before the events of “Trifles,” and whose death sets her off to finally murder her own husband by tying a rope around his neck killing him much in the way he killed the bird and her own spirit. This is a perfect example of something as wondrous as marriage gone horribly wrong.
Mrs. Wright lived her entire marriage alone, confined to a tiny house in the outskirts of town, with her only true companion a bird who sung to her, she loved that bird like it was her child. Mrs. Wright blamed her husband for her loneliness because he wouldn’t allow her to sing in church, have friends over, or have a telephone to even call people occasionally. Mr. Wright made her feel as though she was in solitary confinement in a prison this was not a home. At least she had her canary to keep her company, well until he took that away from her too.
The play ?Trifles?, by Susan Glaspell , is an examination of the different levels of early 1900?s mid-western farming society?s attitudes towards women and equality. The obvious theme in this story is men discounting women?s intelligence and their ability to play a man?s role, as detectives, in the story. A less apparent theme is the empathy the women in the plot find for each other. Looking at the play from this perspective we see a distinct set of characters, a plot, and a final act of sacrifice.
The audience and characters assume that Minnie is guilty, but with due motivation. “Two housewives, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, accompanying their husbands who are investigating the murder of a man by his wife, discover in the kitchen the clues which indicate the motive of the murderess” (Alkalay-Gut 1). The audience assumes that Minnie’s solitude, imposed on her by her husband, has lead her to be depressed. “Alienated from her husband, powerless and silenced by the circumstances of her marriage, and isolated from her neighbors, Minnie is an unseen woman long before she murders John Wright” (Noe 16). What if Minnie’s solitude was self-inflicted? Just as Mrs. Hale could have visited Minnie, Minnie could have visited Mrs. Hale and other women in the area, but chose not to. The audience assumes that John Wright treats Minnie coldly or harshly. Mrs Hale says, “No, Wright wouldn’t like the bird—a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that, too.” (Glaspell 1391). “Her life has been made miserable by an individual who has complete control of her” (Alkalay-Gut 3). What
Susan Glaspell’s most memorable one-act play, Trifles (1916) was based on murder trial case that happened in the 1900’s. Glaspell worked as a reporter, where she appointed a report of a murder case. It was about a farmer, John Hossack who was killed while he was asleep in bed one night. His wife claimed that she was asleep next to him when the attack occurred. No one believed in her statement, she was arrested and was charged on first degree murder.
The play Trifles takes place in a rural area and centers around a woman, Mrs. Wright, who has been accused of killing her husband by strangling him. The act starts off in Mr. and Mrs. Wright’s home on a cold, winter morning the day after Mr. Wright’s body was discovered by the neighbor; the county attorney, the sheriff and his wife and the neighboring farmer and his wife are all inside the
A trifle is something that has little value or importance, and there are many seeming "trifles" in Susan Glaspell's one-act play "Trifles." The irony is that these "trifles" carry more weight and significance than first seems to be the case. Just as Glaspell's play ultimately reveals a sympathetic nature in Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, the evidence that the men investigators fail to observe, because they are blind to the things that have importance to a woman, reveals the identity of the murderer and are, therefore, not really "trifles," after all. Thus, the title of the play has a double-meaning: it refers, satirically, to the way "trifling" way some men perceive women, and it also acts as an ironic gesture to the fact that women are not as "trifling" as these men make them out to be. This paper will analyze setting, characters, plot, stage directions, symbolism, themes and genre to show how Glaspell's "Trifles" is an ironic indictment not of a murderess but rather of the men who push women to such acts.