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Literary Review: "Trifles" Essay

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Protection must be guarded, justice must be served and relationships must be scared. In “Trifles”, Susan Glaspell approaches all three. By utilizing the conflict of law and justice, she explores the social struggle between man and woman as well as the separation between public and private affairs. Each aspect is developed completely in the work and help evaluate the discrepancies throughout the story. Forced to deal with a dramatic murder, a group of individuals face a complicated situation.
The news of a murder brings in Mr. Henderson, the county attorney, and Mr. Peters, the sheriff. Mr. Hale, a neighboring farmer, reveals what he witnessed. Mrs. Wright, the deceased’s wife, was rocking nervously in her chair and mentioned her dead husband lying upstairs. Mr. Hale then called in the sheriff who called in the county attorney. As they begin looking for evidence, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale relocate into the kitchen to gather things to bring to Mrs. Wright to jail. The women start talking about the unhappy life Mrs. Wright seemed to have lived and the unpleasantness that was ushered into the air. Upon finding a broken cage, they grow curious but assume nothing. When they look into a sewing box for more things for Mrs. Wright, they find the dead bird that was strangled. Fearing the worst, the bird was then hidden by the women as the men returned and decide that Mrs. Wright would rather knot than quilt the quilt she was making.
“Trifles” examines the contrast between men and women. Mr. Hale commented that “women are used to worrying over triffles”, implying that men do not concern themselves with such things (433). It also seems to state that women do not think of much else. By the end, however, it is clear that the significance di...


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...id it” especially when she asks “for an apron and her little shawl” (436). It isn’t until they discover the dead bird that their suspicion grows almost unlimited. The tone drastically changes from the mysterious beginning of wondering what occurred to a suspicion. This then ends with the panic and need to protect the woman. The last scene ends with a false closure as the Mrs. Hale concludes with “We call it—knot it”, leaving the reader to wonder as to what would happen next (443).
“Trifles”, by Susan Glaspell, focuses on three points; relationship between men and women, the privacy of a home life and the justice that law must find. By using the play structure, powerful diction, meaningful symbolism and a tense tone, she successfully serves her purpose. The classic plot line of progression only further allows the reader to be enthralled by the focus of the story.



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