Literary Analysis of Susan Glaspell's 'Trifles'

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An Analysis of Natures in Susan Glaspell's "Trifles" 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. The play is based towards the end of the 19th century during the winter season in a traditional rural America farming town. The setting is "the kitchen in the now abandoned farmhouse of John Wright" where "signs of incompleted works" (Glaspell, 1916, p. 5) appear as "signs of incompetent" housekeeping to the men but as signs "of a disturbed consciousness" to the women (Noe, 1995, p. 39). The kitchen is described as

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