“Trifles” Formalist Analysis

Topics: Murder, Susan Glaspell, Homicide Pages: 2 (784 words) Published: April 24, 2011
“Trifles” Formalist Analysis

Most people tend to presume when they really don’t have any evidence of something being true. It is that “for sure” feeling that people get that allows them to make presumptions. False presumptions can create certainty where it should not be. It is that image or symbolism that reveals the truth; therefore, truth is in the eye of the beholder. Throughout the play, “Trifles”, the accused murderer is on trial by a jury of her peers. In the play “Trifles”, by Susan Glaspell, the theme of trifling presumptions by the women and men is strengthened by the elements of imagery and symbolism. Evidence that reveals how Glaspell used imagery to allow the men to create trifling presumptions is the discovery of Mr. Wright in the bed dead with the rope around his neck. The queer looking widow downstairs rocking back and forth without any concern of the present did not persuade the men to think anything different. This is a fine example of when that “for sure” feeling can allow someone to presume what may or may not have happened. “Who did this Mrs. Wright?” asked Harry. “I don’t know,” she says. “You don’t know?” says Harry” (Glaspell 232). Unless she was willing to admit that she murdered her husband, she was guilty. “We must ‘a looked as if we didn’t see how that could be, for after a minute she said, “I sleep sound” (Glaspell 233). It seems to be Glaspell’s intention not to provide any proof of whether or not she murdered him. Of course, proof is not needed for the men to make their presumptions of what did or did not happen. Along with imagery, Glaspell uses symbolism to allow the men to make trifling presumptions about Mrs. Wright’s character. The pleating of her apron while rocking back in forth in the rocking chair with a queer look was symbolism of the loss of her ability to feel emotion. It is evidence of her emotional and mental detachment from her husband long before he died. It is not possible for anyone to show concern where concern...
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