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The Ups and Downs Of A Canary's Tune

Glaspell, ''Trifles'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"What Lawrence does, really, is employ geography as a metaphor for the psyche-when his characters go south, they are really digging deep into their subconcious, delving into that region of darkest fears and desires."

I read the Glaspell play before I read the chapters in Foster, and while I was reading the chapter on geography I made some connections with the events in Trifles. The wheels in my head began turning as soon as I got to the section in which the above quote was incoroporated. As I read further on, Foster started talking about the ups and downs in relation to geography. He said lows in literature are associated with things like darkness, heat, unpleasantness, people, life, and death, and that highs are associated with ice, purity, isolation, life, and death. I found this interesting because after reading this, some of the things in Trifles began to make a lot more sense symbolically speaking. During the majority of Glaspell's play, the two women are downstairs while the men are upstairs. As the course of events unfolds, the women continue to make shocking discoveries about the life Minnie Foster led, while the men remained oblivious to her true motive behind killing her husband, let alone the concrete proof that she did, in fact, kill him. Downstairs, the women realized the darkness and unpleasantness that filled Minnie's lonely days; upstairs the men were isolated from the discoveries the women were making. I just thought it was interesting how Foster's text helped me to make those kind of connections within the play. I definitely wouldn't have been able to pick those things out on my own.

I read the Glaspell before I read the chapters in Foster's book, and while I was reading the chapter on geography, I started thinking about the geographic metaphors in Trifles.

Comments (3)

Chera Pupi:

I hadn't thought of it like that. You made some really good connections.

Lorin Schumacher:

Bethany, I really love how you took what you read in Foster's book and manipulated the information to see how it applied to the work! Just because Foster says because characters specifically go south to learn about themselves doesn't mean that a similar concept can't be applied to being down (since we usually use 'down" with "south" because of how we use maps) as the women are in the play, and instead of learning about their own subconscious, they are learning about Mrs. Wright's thoughts and feelings. Great job!

MacKenzie Harbison:

I definately like where you are going with this. I reread the play again just to see if I could find the metaphors.

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