Trifles by Susan Glaspell

In a minimum of 200 words for each question, answer two of the questions below. Your answer should include at least two quotes from the text for each question. Be sure to include an MLA Works Cited entry and parenthetical citation for quotes.

Topic options:

1. Here’s a creative option. Write a post describing how you would approach Trifles if you were in charge of directing the play. Who would you cast? What would you want your version to emphasize? Is there a specific moment in the play that you would highlight in some way? Would you update the play to emphasize its thematic relevance in 2022?

2. Mrs. Peters seems more concerned with the legalities of the situation than Mrs. Hale, and Mrs. Peters suggests that that the men are doing their duty. Why might Glaspell make the women different in this way? How do these differences contribute to the conflict and resolution of the play?

3. What does the play suggest about justice? As a starting point for your answer, you might look up a definition or two of justice (be sure to cite your source) and talk about the play in light of your definition.

4. What is the central conflict in the play? In what way might Mrs. Peters be said to represent the clash of attitudes at the heart of the play?

Requirements: 200 words for each, total of 400 words.

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Answer preview

The central conflict in the play is that of men versus women. The sheriff, Hale, and county attorney belittle the women’s actions, citing that they worry over trifles. Yet, the trifles help the women secretly piece the bits to Mr. Wright’s murder case. This conflict is first shown when Hale asks Mrs. Wright how she did not hear her husband’s strangling yet they slept on the same bed (Glaspell, 1200). Hale’s question creates an impression that as a woman, Mrs. Wright should know every detail that happens in her home. Further, Mrs. Peters, as she talks to Mrs. Hale, conveys her worry over the unpreserved fruits. In awe, Hale says, “Well, women are used to worrying over trifle” (Glaspell, 1200). In this context, Hale wonders why these women are worried about the preserved fruits, yet there is a murder case in which they should be more worried. Generally, Mrs. Peters portrays a clash in attitude between the men and the women by defying the law and taking a stance to defend Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Peter says, “I know what stillness is” (Glaspell, 1206). This means that Mrs. Peter understood a woman’s stillness as she sympathized with Mrs. Wright’s loss of her dear bird. Hence, together with Mrs. Hales, they withheld evidence because they realized Mrs. Wright was not in a happy place.

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Trifles by Susan Glaspell