Trifles Susan Glaspell Irony Symbolism Theme

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Elizabeth NolanNovember 24, 2012
English essay Favorite Play

“Trifles”, a play by Susan Gaspell, is a story of women banding together to protect one another in a male dominated society. The play is titled “Trifles” because women’s concerns were often considered mere trifles, and not worth the thought and time of men. The use of theme, symbolism, and irony are the reasons why this play is so appealing, especially to women.

“Trifles” contains themes of female identity, revenge, and protection. The protagonists of the play are women, but they are not known by their first names. They are only called by their husbands’ name. It is only when they speak of Mrs. Wright before her marriage that she is called Minnie. The men believe that the women are small-minded and assume the identities of their husbands. Minnie Wright was a vibrant, outgoing young lady. After her marriage to John Wright, the light in her dimmed until she was nothing but a shell of her former self. He took away her self worth, making her life with him unbearable. This is the reason she snapped and murdered her husband. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover evidence that the men could not. They approached the house as a home instead of a crime scene. The women identified with Mrs. Wright after piecing the story together and decided to keep the evidence that would convict her to themselves. By protecting her, they are standing up for women everywhere.

Mrs. Wrights pet canary is a symbol of herself. She had once been a beautiful girl with a nice singing voice, but her marriage to John Wright was like a cage. She was secluded from others and treated poorly by him. The bird was her only source of happiness in her cold, lonely life. When john strangled the bird, he killed the last part of Mrs. Wright that was Minnie Foster. He had taken away her only comfort in life, and this is why she decided to strangle him with the rope.
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