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Symbolic Illustration of the Power of Relationships in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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Symbolic Illustration of the Power of Relationships in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

A friend can be a remarkable thing. Unfortunately, many lack the powerful bonds that all humans need to survive and lead healthy, happy lives. In Susan Glaspell's play Trifles, Mrs. Wright is starved of the human interaction and relationships she so desperately needs. Consequently, she is never rescued from her loneliness, is brought to the point where she cannot handle any more of life's saddening struggles, and kills her husband in his sleep. Through powerful and often ironic symbolism, such as Mrs. Wright's kitchen, the names of the characters, and the bird, Susan Glaspell clearly displays the power of human relationships and how truly devastating a
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Another symbol of Mrs. Wright's lack of human interaction is her preserves in the kitchen. Mrs. Peters explains how Mrs. Wright "worried [that] if the fire'd go out [. . .] her jars would break" (Glaspell 1174) and feels sympathy towards her. The men, on the other hand, do not understand how Mrs. Wright can worry over such small "trifles" (Glaspell 1174) as she sits in jail for possibly murdering her husband. As strange as it is, it is because the preserves, along with any other work she does in her house, is all that she has. It is all that Mrs. Wright can proudly claim as hers. Hence, the broken jars of preserves the women find in her kitchen represent Mrs. Wright's shattered dreams and expectations of a fulfilling life with her husband. Like the jars, Mrs. Wright bursts from the unbearable pressures of her life, and so, Glaspell clearly displays the power and importance of human relationships. Therefore, through Mrs. Wright's kitchen, Glaspell symbolically implies how vital it is to reach out and befriend the lonely and disheartened.

Another symbol Glaspell uses to reiterate the importance of human contact and support is the names of the characters in the work. First, the fact that Glaspell never uses the characters' first names (except for Mrs. Wright's in one scene) signifies that the problem regarding the lack of human relationships is not only in the rural areas of America, but across the world in every
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