The Structure of Trifles
Susan Glaspell, author of the play Trifles quickly grabs the audience’s attention by her use of details about the set. The set is in complete disarray and noted by County Attorney when he says “Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies?” The story centers around five individuals who are inside the home of a woman who is suspected of murdering her husband. Three men (a neighbor, a sheriff, and a county attorney) are walking around the home trying to put together pieces of the puzzle that would incriminate the accused women. Meanwhile two women (the Sheriffs wife and the neighbors wife) are trying to gather some personal belongings to take to the accused women, all the while finding clues to her motive to murder her husband. The women are chatting and looking into the depths of the woman and her home while the men are ignoring them and even at times mocking the women.
The point of attack is shown early on when the Sheriff, Hale, and County Attorney are recreating the crime scene from the previous day. They start with going over the discussion Hale had with the murder suspect when he first arrived at her house and then gradually the story takes them around the house and even outside into the barn. The exposition occurs numerous times throughout the story in such conversations being had by the two women. One time Mrs.Hale was talking about the accused woman’s sewing skills and says “All the rest of it has been so nice and even. And look at this! It’s all over the place!” and then the women find the bird whose neck has been wrung (much like the man who was found hung in his bedroom). The Rising Action of the story is demonstrated by the two women figuring out all the strangeness going on in this home and the men walking in on their conversations. It leads you to believe the women are going to tell the men of their findings, but instead, say nothing. The climax of the story is when the women hide...
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