Trifles - Reading Response

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In Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles,” elements such as setting, personality, and behavior are used to set the mood for this crime story. In this story, a woman is being accused of killing her husband, and what better than a play to act out such a thing. I feel that through the use of actions, costumes, and props, the visual elements in this play really help to bring out this murder mystery to life. In the beginning of the play, the scene starts out with the description of the house and its kitchen. This “abandoned farmhouse” (pg. 909) is given the depiction of loneliness and gloom. The portrayal of the “gloomy kitchen” gives “signs of incompleted work” with “unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread outside the bread-box, a dish-towel on the table” (pg.909). All these important visuals give off this feeling of a deserted and vacant home, implying its inhabitants’ need for a sudden escape. As the people begin to enter the home, the order in which they come in gives this notion of importance. The men: the County Attorney, Hale, and the Sheriff enter first and are “followed by the two woman” (pg.909). As always, the women are the secondary characters and just play the roles of “extras” as their characters importance is diminished by their sex. Later on, when the men go upstairs to look for evidence at the crime scene, “[The women listen to the men’s steps on the stairs, then look about the kitchen.]” (pg.913). Once again, the women are left behind and are of little concern to the men. These two women are not of importance so therefore, do not have the right to step into the room. This notion of inferiority is portrayed throughout the entire story as the men laugh at the women and the “unimportant” things that they do. This idea is later emphasized when the County Attorney “[Kicks his foot against the pans under the sink.]” (pg.912). This action shows the carelessness that this man has for the woman’s house and or work. This is just another way that he is...
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