Trifles By Susan Glaspell Essay

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In 1916, Susan Glaspell wrote Trifles, a story inspired by a murder she covered while a journalist for an Iowa newspaper. Despite the simple title, the story has murder, deceit, and revelations of the facts. The play covers the aftermath of the murder of a farmer in his isolated farm home and the search for evidence of his killer. After reading this, I believe the characters in this play sought justice in their own ways; the males looking for cold hard facts, while the women hide what they uncover in order to help the farmer’s wife. Shortly after the story begins, one of the women, Mrs. Peters, stars out on her husband’s, Sheriff Peters, side. She even states to Mrs. Hale, the wife of the witness, “the law is the law” (Roberts and Zweig). I…show more content…
Peters hide the bird from the gentlemen when they reappear, but she also deceives the county attorney when he asks “is there a cat?” as a way to explain the empty birdcage they found. Her reply was “well, not now,” which was clearly a misrepresentation of the truth, since earlier when the women first came a crossed the damaged cage, Mrs. Peters recalls how Minnie became distressed when a cat came into the room (Robert & Zweig). Beverly Smith summed the women’s role in the play perfectly by noting they “function as defense counsel for and jury of their accused peer” (Mustazza). I find this to be an accurate observation. Throughout the women’s conversations in the play, they appear to paint a picture of a woman whom was once vibrant, one who enjoyed singing, but now one who struggled to get through normal housework, like the dishes, and was lonely. They even justify Minnie Wright’s actions leading up to the murder as well. One of the women noticed that the quilting was knotted rather than sewn in some spots and decides to fix it. I interpreted this as her hiding Minnie’s expression of anger in her work. These “tiny trifles of life” in the end held the truth of what really occurred in the farmhouse (Holstein). Additionally, these items were found by the women, not the men and were kept from the

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