Essay on the Play Trifles

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Essay on the Play Trifles

Introduction

In Susan Glaspell 's, "Trifles," symbolism is used to emphasize the meaning of the play. Glaspell writes of a woman who murdered her husband because he was to blame for her cold and lonely life [1]. Susan Glaspell wrote Trifles in 1916, basing this brief, one-act play on the murder of the sixty-year-old John Hossack, which she had covered extensively during her stint as a journalist with the Des Moines Daily News after her graduation from Drake University. She traveled to the scene of the crime in Indianola, Iowa, where the farmer John Hossack was murdered after midnight on December 2, 1900. According to Margaret Hossack, who had been married to John Hossack for thirty-three years, she was sleeping beside him and awoke to the sound of an axe twice striking something that turned out later to be her husband 's head [2]. In her testimony, she leapt out of bed and ran into the living room, where she saw a light and heard the door closing. She returned to her bedroom with her children and discovered him to be mortally injured.

Setting

The sheriff Henry Peters and the county attorney George Henderson arrive with the witness Lewis Hale, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Hale at John Wright 's farmhouse, where the police are investigating Wright 's murder. Lewis Hale recounts how he discovered Mrs. Wright acting bizarrely, as she told him that her husband was murdered while she was sleeping [2]. Although a gun had been in the house, Wright was gruesomely strangled with a rope. The men continually disparage the women for worrying about trifles instead of about the case, but Henderson allows the women to collect some items for Mrs. Wright, who is in custody, as long as he agrees that the objects are irrelevant to the case [3].

Characters

George Henderson

The county attorney, he has been called to investigate the murder of John Wright and will probably serve as the attorney for the prosecution in the



References: 1. Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. 9th ed. Booth, Alison et al, eds. New York: WW Norton, 2005. 1314-23. Print. 2. Alkalay-Gut, Karen. "Jury of Her Peers: The Importance of Trifles." Studies in Short Fiction 21 (Winter 1984): 1-9. 3. Glaspell, Susan. "Trifles." Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. 8th Ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2007. 4. Makowsky, Veronica. Susan Glaspell 's Century of American Women: A Critical Interpretation of Her Work. New York: Oxford UP, 1993.

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