Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, was misleading but interesting. On your initial reading the focus of the play is not clear. The play seems to be about two men trying to find a motive for a murder while two women, who are trying to occupy their time, discover a dead bird. While this characteristic of the play frustrated me, it also made me curious to know if the play had a different meaning. Reading this play reminded me of the first time I watched Monster’s Ball and didn’t know what it was about. Although I still do not know what Monster’s Ball is about, reading Trifles for the second time proved to be different.
Glaspell’s indirect focus became apparent to me in my second reading. The symbolism is a good aspect of the play. The dead bird that Ms. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover is a symbol of Minnie Foster’s internal death. The open birdcage symbolizes the wife’s new found freedom through the death of her husband. In comparison to reality, we use tangible items to symbolize intangible things everyday. For example, a white dove is used to symbolize peace. The American Flag is used to symbolize liberty. On a harsher note, your middle finger is used to say; well you know what it’s used to say.
The author indirectness proves to be a plus thus far.Glaspell discusses women’s place in society throughout the play. The men, who hold the distinctive titles of county sheriff and deputy, spend time searching for tangible evidence and using fancy methods to solve the murder but come up with nothing. The women, who I suspect were housewives, solve the case quietly and methodically. The women use their personal knowledge about Minnie Foster to hypothesis reasons why she would have killed her husband. They use the off- centered stitching in the blanket to theorize that she was nervous about something. The women, who did not once set foot on the crime scene, find the dead bird, which is tangible evidence and motive to why she may have killed her husband.
Despite the many great characteristics in the play there is a downfall. The ending of the play leaves you not knowing what happens to Mrs. Wright. While this is a plus for readers who like classic whodunits, it was a definite collapse for me. This is the one time that the author should have been direct with what was going on or at least give a clue of what was about to happen. Ending stories without a definite ending has always been aggravating for me when reading.