Analysis of Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles”
The scene of Susan Glaspell’s play “Trifles” is set in a gloomy, unkempt, and now abandoned farm house. The town sheriff, the county attorney, and Mr. Hale along with the sheriff’s wife and Mrs. Hale, a neighbor, enter through the kitchen. The men are there to investigate the death of the owner, Mr. Wright. The women have come along to gather some things to take to Mrs. Wright who is in jail for the murder of her husband. Susan Glaspell ties the use of exposition, conflict, and symbol together to reveal the gloomy and hopeless mood of this play. Glaspell ties exposition together with conflict from the very beginning of this play. Here we meet Mr. and Mrs. Wright, who never actually take a physical part in the play. Although Mr. and Mrs. Wright are the main characters in “Trifles” Glaspell uses exposition to introduce the couple. We see Mr. Wright’s personality in Mr. Hale’s statement, “I didn’t know as what his wife wanted made much difference to John” (Glaspell 810). Mrs. Wright is introduced by Mr. Hale. Mr. Hale had stopped by the Wright’s house to discuss a matter with Mr. Wright. Mr. Hale says. “She was rockin’ back and forth. She had her apron in her hand and was kind of pleating it. (Glaspell 810). Mr. Hale also tells the county attorney that, “She looked queer” (Glaspell 810). The conflict comes into play during the exposition when we are led to doubt the Wright’s character because of statements made by Mr. Hale. Next, we see Glaspell use symbol during the exposition to portray the gloomy attitude of men toward women and what they think is important. During the initial search of the house the county attorney finds some broken jars with preserves in them. The jars had broken due to the cold weather the night before. Mrs. Peters, the sheriff’s wife, states, “She worried about that when it turned so cold” (Glaspell 811). The county attorney responds by saying, “I guess before we’re...
Cited: Glaspell, Susan. "Trifles." Gioia, X. J. Kennedy and Dana. Literature An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. New York: Pearson, 2010. 809-819.
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