The Danger in Susan Glaspell's Trifles Essay

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The Danger in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

Susan Glaspell's 'Trifles' is a play about a real life murder case that uses symbolism to help bring it to a close. It is easy to see that Mr. and Mrs. Wright live in a society that is cut off from the outside world and also strongly separated by gender. Three of the key symbols in Glaspell's play are a simple bird cage, a quilt, and isolationism. Anna Uong of Virginia Tech and Karen Shelton of JSRCC share these same ideas on symbolism. These three symbols are the main clues that help the reader decide who killed Mr. Wright.

The bird cage that was found is one of the most profound symbols in the story. Mrs. Hale describes Minnie as, 'kind of like a bird herself, real sweet and
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It is said to be ?All over the place as if she didn?t know what she was about,? states Mrs.
Hale?(840). This is another clue into how enraged and flustered Minnie was.
Minnie?s last straw was when John killed her bird. When the bird died, so did
Minnie?s personality. After that murder, Minnie was enraged, confused, and didn?t know what to do. Mrs. Hale wondered ?if she was goin? to quilt it or knot it?(840).
By quilting the blanket, she would have chosen to endure the pain that John was putting her through, but by knotting the quilt she chose to eliminate it. Just as a knot represents a finishing or a completion of a project, it also was an end to John. The weaving of the quilt also symbolises the building up of the marriage and then the end of it. ?The quilt started out as a beautiful piece of art and was brought to a close by a couple of sloppy stitches and knots?(Uong). Just like the Wright?s marriage, the quilt was beautiful until the end where everything was simply a mess.

Isolationism also plays a very important role in the story. The Wright?s farmhouse is located in a hallow, in the woods. This sets her in a secluded place away from most civilisation. The Wright?s didn?t even have a phone in their house to be able to call anyone. Mr. Hale came to talk to Mr. Wright about a phone a few times but, ?he put me off, saying folks talked too much

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