Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay

Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay.

Trfles’ By Susan Glaspell I believe had several small defining moments leading to the one larger defining moment, which brings together all of them together. The defining moment is the discovery of the dead bird hidden in the pretty red box, this leads back to smaller points such as her sewing and the bird cage. “ Here’s some red. I expect this has got sewing things in it. (Brings out a fancy box.) What a pretty box. Looks like something somebody would give you.

Maybe her scissors are in here. (Opens box. Suddenly puts her hand to her nose.) Why—(Mrs. Peters bends nearer, then turns her face away.) There’s something wrapped up in this piece of silk.” “It’s the bird” ” (Glaspell, 2011, p. 144), I believe that the two main characters in this play are Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, the sheriff’s wife. At first is seems they are part of the background story, that they are there but not part of the main action.

When the ladies first sit down in the kitchen they are uneasy about being there and how the situation is making them uncomfortable. They feel as if they are judging Mrs. Wright about her house and the way things are.

As the ladies discuss her situation they begin to speculate on her guilt. Initially they don’t consider Mrs. Wright as having the personality or ability to commit the crime she has been arrested for. However, as the story continues, signs begin emerging that point to the possibility of her guilt, yet they still are in disbelief. When the author introduces the quilting, it is easy to assume a mental picture of a woman under stress using it to calm her. Once the ladies find the bird cage, at first consideration, as certainly the author intended, is “what happened to the bird? Did a cat get it? Did it get ill? What could have happened?” Then, given new information about the door to the cage is broken, as if someone yanked it open. It still could have been a cat trying to get at the bird, but then Mrs. Wright didn’t like cats, so that possibility is out. The ladies begin discussing Mr. Wright and how he was a hard man to be around. Here the author begins to give readers more background story of the couple, and plants seeds for reasons to take sides with Mrs. Wright.

They describe him as a good man in the way that he didn’t drink and paid his debts but was a hard man to be around, and how she was different before she became Mrs. Wright. Comparing her to a songbird, how she liked to sing and be involved in town things like church, giving her a likeable personality prior to her marriage. As they talk and pass time they are looking for her sewing things to take her so she can pass the time, they discover a pretty red box in with her quilting patches. Thinking it is a box for her scissors, they instead find the dead bird. Not just dead but someone has wrung its neck, a violent end to a tiny life. Mrs. Hale knows that Mrs. Wright was going to bury the bird in the pretty box and begins to think about the bird and how the bird would have kept her company and the beauty of its singing. Their thoughts turn to Mr. Wright and how he would have hated the birds’ singing because he killed Mrs. Wright’s singing.

Mrs. Peters recounts a story of when she was a child and had a cat that was killed in front of her and how it could have, would have, hurt the person that killed her cat. At this point both ladies begin to understand a little more of what happened in the house and why. What do they do though, the men are looking for evidence. Mrs. Peters says “It was an awful thing was done in this house that night, Mrs. Hale. Killing a man while he slept, slipping a rope around his neck that choked the life out of him” (Glaspell, 2011, p. 145), and as she says this Mrs. Hale compares the similarities between the bird and Mr. Wright’s deaths. Mrs. Peters reiterates that they don’t know who killed Mr. Wright. As the women sit and talk they begin to think about what it would have been like for Mrs. Wright to have that little bird to sing to her and then have silence again.

Mrs. Peters relates to Mrs. Wright’s situation by sharing her story of having lost a child before, knowing the silence or sadness that comes with a loss like that. Mrs. Hale begins to blame herself for not being a better friend and seeing what was going on, And how she could have been a better neighbor she might have been able to change things. Knowing that they should be blaming themselves for what happened there. Mrs. Peter’s comments on what the men would think if they could hear them getting carried away with a dead canary the way they are and how absurd they must sound. But would they find it as absurd as they think or would it be the evidence they are looking for?

As the men come back downstairs Mrs. Hale decides to try and hide the dead bird but it won’t fit in her pocket, at the last second Mrs. Peters puts it in her purse and hides it from the sheriff and attorney that enter the room. With this action, readers are lead to believe that the women have decided that Mrs. Wright in fact did kill her husband while he slept, and that they sympathize with her. Perhaps they haven’t been in the same situation but in a way they empathize with her hopelessness and sadness, and stand unified to protect her. It is interesting that the women find evidence in the case as where the men are looking and can’t seem to come up with anything, to serve as a motive. Another example of how women were perceived in this story is how instead of asking the opinion of the women or if they found anything all they ask is if the women decided if she was going to quilt-it or knot-it. “Well, ladies, have you decided whether she was going to quilt it or knot it?” (Glaspell, 2011, p. 144)

Glaspell, S. (2011). Trifles. In D.L. Pike and A.M. Acosta (Eds.) Literature: A world of writing stories, poems, plays, and essays [VitalSource digital version] (pp. 139-145). Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions. Acosta, David L. Pike and Ana (). Literature: A World of Writing Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays VitalSource eBook for Education Management Corporation [1] (VitalSource Bookshelf), Retrieved from

Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay