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Summary and Analysis of "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell

Categories: Trifles

In Trifles by Susan Glaspell, Mrs. Wright is an unseen character where her presence did not show in the play but it is told by the two women which are Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. Even though her presence did not mention in the play but her strong character contributes the whole plot of the play as she is the protagonist. It is mentioned that Minnie Wright is the main suspect of Mr. Wright’s assassination because Mr. Wright is her husband.

So she was investigated by the two sights in which, Minnie Wright was guilty in men’s point of view but was innocent in women’s point of view. It is because in women’s point of view, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters investigated the case by looking at every small details that might be the reason why she be the main suspect but in men’s point of view, they do not pay attention at those small details.

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Furthermore, Minnie Wright also symbolizes every woman in that era. This is because during that era in 19th, women do not have the right and cannot voice out their opinions. These cruel actions led to the women oppression in the patriarchal society during that era where patriarchal system is a system in which men have the most authority than women because their position is higher than women. Even through this play, Minnie Wright’s oppression can also be felt by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters.

Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are the neighbor of Minnie Wright and they are the one that help to visualize the character of Mrs.

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Wright to the audience. These two women help to visualize Minnie Wright’s character by their investigation in Minnie Wright’s house along with their husband and Mr. Henderson who is The County Attorney. At first Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters along with their husband and Mr. Henderson wanted to find the evidence that showing Minnie Wright is the main suspect of her husband assassination, but when Mr. Henderson simply criticized the mess in Minnie Wright’s kitchen and said that she is poor housekeeper makes Mrs. Hale sided to Minnie Wright. This is an early example of Mrs. Hale’s empathy towards each other that resulting in loyalty of women. It is because, Mrs. Hale which is also a wife to Lewis Hale knows the difficulties of keeping the house clean and tidy but Mr. Henderson does not know.

Further, when Mr. Henderson tries to criticize the dirty towel in Minnie Wright’s kitchen, Mrs. Hale defends Minnie Wright by saying   “those towels get dirty awful quick. Men’s hands aren’t always as clean as they might be”. Mr. Henderson’s actions show how easily are men during that time downgraded women by simple small details that actually should not be bother. Moreover, in this play, Mrs. Hale is the one that sets the mood of sympathy of Mrs. Wright to the audience and Mrs. Peters because she knew Mrs. Wright back then as a beautiful and bright Minnie Foster before she got married with John Wright that now has completely changed her life. Next, the two women found about the quilt made by Minnie Wright herself, they concerned to know whether she was going to quilt it or just knot it and in the same time their husband that overheard their conversation said it is nonsense and laughed at them as they are too cared about trifles.

As the men left that place, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters noticed that the quilt at first was in its good shape and nice but it became messier and all over the place in the end of the quilt itself. This sparks something in their head as they assumed that in the beginning of Minnie Wright’s life before she is married to John Wright is full of happiness but as she became the wife of John Wright her life began to full of depression and sadness. Afterwards, Mr. Henderson asked about the quilt if Minnie Wright will quilt it or just knot it but Mrs. Hale said she knotted it as she knew Minnie Wright wanted to end her misery with her husband by knotted a rope to strangle her husband’s neck. Mrs. Peters who is a newcomer to the place that never knew how cheerful is Minnie Wright before she got married with John Wright prefers to follow the rule of her husband and keep on apologizing of men’s behavior because she believe that they are just doing their duty. But as she deeply investigated about the murder, she finds out that actually Mr. Wright is being harsh and abusive towards Minnie Wright. This is because when, Mrs. Peters found the door of the cage bird is broken and she cannot stop feeling suspicious about it until she discovered the dead canary in a fancy box where its head is wrung in the same way as John Wright. It is showed that, Mr. Wright killed his wife’s bird as he did not like the bird is chirping and singing all day long because it resembled his wife when she was young. In returns, Minnie Wright killed her husband with the same way as her husband killed her bird as a revenge for the canary. Mrs. Peters in the end sided to Minnie Wright and Mrs. Hale and decided to hide the box from her husband, Lewis Peters and the other two men Mr. Henderson and Lewis Hale. Furthermore, they also tried to cover up the evidence when Mr. Henderson asked them about the empty birdcage by saying that the cat took the bird and ran away after Mr. Wright’s death.

In the end of the play, no evidence was found by the men because they do not pay much attention at the trifles like how the women did but only looking at the big evidence to solve the crime. Moreover, it is also concluded that Mrs. Peters who at first did not care about Minnie Wright’s life because she is married to the sheriff and that is mean she is also married to the law turns out to feel sympathy and empathy towards Minnie Wright and fought against her husband. By all of the trifles that found by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters help them to solve the riddles through the inner conflict between them and also help them to get out of the patriarchal world that makes women have no right to voice out their opinions.

Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters who hiding the evidence of the small details in this play implies that women should be sympathetic towards other women because they all go through the same things but just a different kind of the same things said Mrs. Hale. Susan Glaspell, the writer of the play wanted to highlight the thought that women during that era had to keep a home in a clean and tidy state and their contribution towards their home and family left unappreciated and overviewed by the men. It is also mentioned how the patriarchal system happened during that era inspires Susan Glaspell to make a play so it is viewed by all people around the world to see how men took women for granted.

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Summary and Analysis of "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell. (2020, Sep 09). Retrieved from

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