Trifles by Susan Glaspell

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Trifles by Susan Glaspell

Literary devices used in the ‘ Trifles’
Symbolism

- to express meaning indirectly.
Example:

An undone quilt

Though the women are laughed at when they are

discussing if Mrs Wright is going to quilt it or knot it, this really shows the reader what marriages were like at the beginning of the 1900s. Men see women as tedious and uninterested in the affairs of "important matters concerning men only", and the fact that the women are the ones who found the actual evidence and that the men just laugh it off further proves how women are not considered equals in the eyes of men.

Bird
 The women find the birdcage in the

kitchen and thoroughly observe it. They realize it is broken and no bird is there.
Later they find the bird and realize it had been strangled.
Mrs. Hale: “She, come to think of it, was kind of like a bird herself-real sweet and pretty but kind of timid and fluttery.”
The author compares the oppressed life of the bird to that of Mrs. Wright’s, through
Mrs. Hale’s dialogue. Mr Wright is said to be confined to the house without party telephone or any entertainment.

Irony

- intended meaning is completely opposite to their literal meaning.
Example: Trifles
Men are less observant and tend to dismiss things

compared to women. The sheriff and county attorney overlook the essential details : ruined fruit preserves, bread that has been left out of its box, an unfinished quilt, a half clean / half messy table top and an empty bird cage. Ironically, they are given legal rights to investigate the murder. During that time, women are often discriminated and dominated by men, However, Mrs Hale and Mrs
Peters are the ones who managed to notice the details and investigate the case deeper.

Foreshadowing
 Clues used to alert the reader about events

that will occur later.
Example: When the women discuss the quilt and the birdcage, these objects foreshadow the subsequent discovery of the dead canary.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hale provides

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