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Triffles In Triffles

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A crime scene calls for careful consideration and attention to every detail. Making false assumptions and underestimating the importance of information can lead to a false verdict or conviction. The outdated stereotype of men's superiority over women, and the consequences of this ideology, is the theme present in the play "Trifles," by Susan Glaspell. The play features five members of the community, simultaneously investigating a crime scene, trying to expose evidence that may answer the question of who killed John Wright. The only obvious suspect in the play is Wright's wife Minnie. Throughout the play, the men present search the house, and seemingly overlook the investigating women as dim-witted and irrelevant. This notion ultimately leaves the men devoid of the evidence they need to convict Mrs. Wright. The play features many "trifles," or small details that many might overlook at first mention. These details, however, turn out to be very important, and not trifles at all. The mention of Mrs. Wright's cracked fruit contains great symbolism and parallelism to the mental state of the suspect being mentioned. Furthermore, the discovery of the strangled bird serves as not only basis for a motive for the crime, but also a look into the life and struggles of Minnie Wright. Finally, the quilt found in the house similarly provides more evidence and symbolism of the murderer. These objects, which may appear as trifles initially, are actually the basis in which to convict Minnie Wright.

Throughout the play, the audience is aware of the very cold setting. This is detrimental to life on a farm, as proven by the cracked jars of fruit. When entering the disheveled kitchen, the group of onlookers notice and comment on its unkempt appearance. The women seem to sympathize with the cracked jars of fruit, realizing that Minnie had worked hard to collect them, and worried about their upholding. The men seem to look at the jars as insignificant, and almost a laughable conflict. They joke about how ridiculous it is that a woman held for murderer would worry about such trivial things as her fruit. However, in their eyes, "women are used to worrying over trifles" (Glaspell 772). Despite their skepticism, the fruit parallels Minnie's life as the wife of Mr. Wright. Minnie worked to preserve the fruit, ultimately to give them food for the colder winter months. Previously to getting married, Minnie was like the fresh fruit. Her youth was the time she was able to flourish and grow, paralleling the spring season for the fruit. Upon storing the fruit, Minnie was ensuring food for her family during the cold seasons. Just like that of a marriage, the preparation and preservation took time and energy. The jars of fruit, however, could not take the cold of the winter, and Minnie worried for the time when "the fire'd go out and her jars would break" (772). Fire is oftentimes related to the passion shared in a relationship. Furthermore this could symbolize a time when Minnie worried the passion in her marriage would cease as well. In the end, her sanity finally had endured too much cold treatment from Wright, and ultimately she cracked like the jars. This led to the extreme act of murdering her husband. The broken jars produced a sticky mess in the kitchen. This too portrays the outcome of Minnie's predicament, as her live had become a horrible disaster. Had the male investigators interpreted the scene as anything more than just a trifle, the result of the investigation would not have been tarnished.

One of the most obvious pieces of evidence, eventually giving the women basis for conviction, was the detection of the strangled bird. Minnie took a special liking to the bird, as she had no children nor a compassionate husband to keep her company. Mr. Wright, however, was noted as being aggravated by the animal, showing frustration in its singing and ability to make noise. His final act may have been to strangle the bird. Minnie Wright was noted as being like the bird. The women remembered her as being very pretty and kind, yet fluttery as well. She underwent a terrible change, however, when she married Mr. Wright. As a young girl she

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