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 himself and his wife to have contact with anyone in town. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find a birdcage without a bird inside, and the door hinge had been pulled apart.
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. In conclusion, isolationism, a quilt, and incomplete house work are the three key symbols in the play that help the reader figure out who murdered Mrs. Wright’s husband. It is obvious that Mrs. Wright murdered her husband, and the author’s technique is symbolism which gives Mrs.
Wright away. Mrs. Wright now is probably going to feel more free in jail than she would have been when her husband was alive. .