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Trifles, written by Susan Glaspell, is a real life murder case that uses symbolism to help solve a mystery. Glaspell's use of dialect, set on a midwestern farm, emphasizes the town's gender-separated society. Isolationism, a quilt, and incomplete house work are the three key symbols in the play the help the reader figure out who murdered Mrs. Wright's husband.
First of all, isolationism is an important clue in the murder case. Mrs. Wright's farmhouse is located in a hollow, down in the woods, which puts her in a secluded place. Mr. Hale, a friend, came to talk to Mr. Wright about a party telephone, but he said, "He put me off, saying folks talked too much anyway . . . " (59). This is an example of how Mr. Wright did not want…show more content…
Later, they find the bird in Mrs. Wright's sewing box, and Mrs. Peters states that " Somebody - wrung - its - neck" (65). We can assume from this that her husband was tired of hearing the bird sing and he was the one to wring to bird's neck. But, to Mrs. Wright the bird was important to her. It was the only normality to the outside world she had, and Mr. Wright had taken that away from her.
A quilt that Mrs. Wright was working on is also an important symbol in the play. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find the quilt Mrs. Wright had been working on. Mrs. Hale says, referring to the sewing, "Why, it looks as if she didn't know what she was about" (63). Mrs. Wright was nervous when she was sewing the quilt and had knotted it. Knotting the quilt would symbolize knotting her husband's noose. It is evident that she is upset about the bird, and her mind was not on quilting, but plotting her husband's death.
Finally, incomplete housework is the third important use of symbolism. When the sheriff and the attorney arrive at the scene, they notice unwashed pans, bread outside the bread box and a dish towel on the table. The shefiff makes the comment, "Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies" (61)? Women the time of Trifles always kept up the house work, and it was unusual for things to be out of place. We can ssume that incomplete house work symbolizes trouble in Mrs. Wright's marriage and that her mind was on other things.
The sheriff Henry Peters and the county attorney George Henderson arrive with the witness Lewis Hale, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Hale at John Wright's farmhouse, where the police are investigating Wright's murder. Lewis Hale recounts how he discovered Mrs. Wright acting bizarrely, as she told him that her husband was murdered while she was sleeping. Although a gun had been in the house, Wright was gruesomely strangled with a rope. The men continually disparage the women for worrying about trifles instead of about the case, but Henderson allows the women to collect some items for Mrs. Wright, who is in custody, as long as he agrees that the objects are irrelevant to the case.
While the men are investigating upstairs, Mrs. Hale reminisces about how happy Mrs. Wright had been before her marriage, and she regrets that she had not come to visit Mrs. Wright despite suspecting the unhappiness she had suffered as John Wright's wife. After looking around the room, the women discover a quilt and decide to bring it with them, although the men tease them for pondering about the quilt as they briefly enter the room before going to inspect the barn. Meanwhile, the women discover an empty birdcage and eventually find the dead bird in a box in Mrs. Wright's sewing basket while they are searching for materials for the quilt. The bird has been strangled in the same manner as John Wright. Although Mrs. Peters is hesitant to flout the men, who are only following the law, she and Mrs. Hale decide to hide the evidence, and the men are unable to find any clinching evidence that will prevent her from being acquitted by a future jury - which will, the play implies, most likely prove sympathetic to women.