Susan Glaspells Trifles

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Sharen Dever
South University Online

Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles, explores the fact that women pay attention to the little things that may lead to the solution of a bigger problem. Why do women pay attention to the little things? Could it be because the attention to detail is the starting point to solving the bigger problem? Let’s think of the ‘little things’ like pieces of a puzzle. When all the little pieces are put together, they usually form a picture; therefore you see the whole picture. In this play, the men think it’s just like women to worry about the little details that they see throughout the house, they think it’s ‘trifle’. What they don’t seem to realize is that by the women paying attention to the little things, they are actually solving the murder of Mr. Wright. The first little detail is the fruit preserves when Mrs. Peters said to Mrs. Hale “She worried about that when it turned so cold. She said the fire’d go out and her jars would break.” That’s when the Sheriff replied “Well, can you beat the women! Held for murder and worryin’ about her preserves.” (Glaspell, 2010, lines 27-29, p 143). If Mrs. Wright hadn’t been preoccupied, she could have started a fire to keep the preserves from freezing. Why was Mrs. Wright preoccupied? This is probably when the two women thought that perhaps the Wrights were having an argument or maybe even something worse was happening. Another little detail is the fact that Mrs. Wright didn’t wake up while her husband was being strangled to death. Unless Mr. & Mrs. Wright slept in separate beds she should have felt him struggling while the noose was being put around his neck or heard him gasping for air. It also seemed strange that there was a gun in the house and it wasn’t used. Why strangle him? Why not use the gun? According to an essay on Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, the author noted “The strangling of Mr. Wright, which perplexes all when a gun was handy, is reminiscent...
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