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NAME : NORA EZZATI BINTI AZMI

MATRIC NO : A138228

Written in 1916, Susan Glaspells one-act play Trifles is based on true events. As a
young reporter, Glaspell covered a murder case in a small town in Iowa. Years later, she
wrote a short play inspired by her experiences and observations. The play starts with the
sheriff and the County Attorney investigate the house of John Wright shortly after his murder.
The men are convinced that Mrs. Wright has committed the murder, yet have found no
evidence. As the two question Mr. Hale, the man who discovers the dead body, they make fun
at the women and their "trifles." When the men head upstairs to look for evidence, their wives
examine the kitchen where they find clues pointing to Mrs. Wright's guilt. In other areas of
the house, the women discover more clues, clues that the men overlook as mere "trifles". The
condescending attitude of the investigators toward their wives make them feel like "trifles"
and causes them to withhold the evidence. As we analysed deeper this play, we could clearly
see the theme that the writer is trying to convey, which is, the appreciation towards women.
The men within this play betray a sense of self-importance. They show themselves as more
clever than the women and they could solve the case better. They present themselves as
tough, serious-minded detectives, when in truth they are not nearly as observant as the female
characters.

In literary terms, characterization is defined as the way an author presents characters.


In direct presentation, a character is described by the author, the narrator or the other
characters. In indirect presentation, a character's traits are revealed by action and speech. In
this play, there are six characters that involved directly. They are John Wright (the deceased),
Mrs. Wright (the wife of John Wright), George Henderson (the County Attorney), Henry

Peters (the Sheriff), Mr. Lewis Hale (a neighbouring farmer), Mrs. Peters (the Sheriff's wife)
and Mrs. Hale.
John Wright, who is a local farmer, was married to Minnie Foster. He was described
as a good, dutiful man but he was also a rough man. He didnt really paid attention to his wife
emotion, because Mrs. Wright didnt seemed to be happy after they married. Mrs. Wright was
born as Minnie Foster and she used to be a happy, lively girl who sang in the local choir, but
after she married John Wright, her life became unhappy and forlorn. Although she does not
appear in the play, she is the main suspect in her husband's murder and sends Mrs. Peters and
Mrs. Hale to collect a few minor items for her from the farmhouse. George Henderson, the
County Attorney, he has been called to investigate the murder of John Wright and will
probably serve as the attorney for the prosecution in the event of a trial. He is young and
professional in manner, but he often dismisses the female interest in minor details of
domesticity, and he disparages Mrs. Wright for what he perceives as her lack of homemaking
abilities. Next is Henry Peters. The middle-aged local sheriff and husband of Mrs. Peters, he
is at John Wright's house to examine the scene of the crime. Like Henderson, he gently teases
the women about their interest in Mrs. Wright's quilt. Mr. Lewis Hale, who is a neighbouring
farmer, had entered the Wright farmhouse to ask John about acquiring a telephone, only to
find a strangled man and a wife acting very bizarrely. He says, "Women are used to worrying
about trifles." After that is Mrs. Peters. A relative newcomer to the town who never knew
Mrs. Wright before John Wright married her, Mrs. Peters is "a slight, wiry woman" with a
"thin, nervous face." She is married to the sheriff and prefers to follow the law, often
apologizing for the behaviour of the men because they are only doing her duty. Mrs. Peters
understands loneliness and the world of the female domestic. Lastly, Mrs. Hale. The wife of
the farmer Lewis Hale, she is of a heavier build than Mrs. Peters and resents the
condescension shown to her by the men in general and Henderson in particular because of her

gender and domestic occupation. She remembers Mrs. Wright as the young Minnie Foster,
and she feels sorry for Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Hale regrets not having come to visit Mrs. Wright to
alleviate her cheerless life.

Conflict is defined as an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions


or principles or in other words, struggles between opposing forces. In literature, there are
three types of conflicts, which is, man versus himself, man versus man and man versus
nature. In Trifles, the conflicts involved are man versus himself and man versus man. The
conflict man versus himself could be seen clearly from the character Mrs. Wright (Minnie
Foster). This conflict was portrayed indirectly by the conversation of Mrs. Hale and Mrs.
Peters about Mrs. Wright. How she seemed to fight with her emotion, to stay happy with her
life as Mrs. Wright and to control her depression. The conflict man versus man was clearly
shown through the murder of John Wright. Mrs. Wright surely had to struggle a bit with her
husband in order to kill him by hanging him by rope in their bedroom.

Lastly is setting. Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary defined setting as the


position of a house or other building, or the time and the place in which the action of a book,
film, play, etc. happen. Trifles took place in a Western country, either an American country or
a British country during the winter season. We could also sensed that this story happened in
the nineteenth century based on the background setting that was described by the characters
themselves. Basically, the place setting of the play only took place around the kitchen area,

since most of the scenes were the conversations between Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters and it
took place in the kitchen of Mr. And Mrs. Wrights house.

http://plays.about.com/od/plays/a/trifles.htm
http://www.brighthubeducation.com/high-school-english-lessons/20755-trifles-bysusan-glaspell-review-and-analysis/
http://www.gradesaver.com/trifles/study-guide/character-list/
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/lit_term.html

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