January 31, 2006
"The essay is designed as an explanation of what is in the assigned passage. General content is the objective"
I can see how confusion might result when writing about a close reading when it is focused on general content. This may lead to summarization quite easily. It seems to me that the key is to explain rather than retell. To me this means analyzing one specific part of a work and thereby learning more deeply about what the author meant to accomplish in that work as a whole.
Since Glaspell wrote this play in the midst of the women's suffrage movement, I think that her focus on Mrs. Hale's regret for not visiting Mrs. Wright is worthy of note.
"Oh, I wish I'd come over here once in a while! That was a crime! That was a crime! Who's going to punish that?"
Mrs. Hale states that they lived close by but were far apart emotionally and that all women go through different versions of the same thing. While it does not excuse murder, Mrs. Hale notices that Mrs. Wright was in obvious need of friendship and someone to confide in. I imagine that Mrs. Hale wonders if her own presence in Mrs. Wright's life may have helped avoid this tragedy.
Trifles - "knot it"
County Attorney. "Well, Henry, at least we found out that she was not going to quilt it. She was going to-what is it you call it, ladies?"
Mrs. Hale. "We call it-knot it, Mr. Henderson"
I love the last lines of the play. In assuming that the "trifles" of women are of no real importance, the men miss all of the clues. To the attorney, asking about the quilt is a way of demeaning women and women's work. For Mrs. Hale, it allows her a play on words explaining her stance on the whole mystery. She will not reveal any information and as if in a game of tag, she is saying that Mrs. Wright is "(k)not it".
I don't know much about quilting, but it seems that to quilt the pieces together is more involved and time-consuming than knotting it. In this way, it seems that Mrs. Wright was taking the quicker and more direct way of completing a task. This reflects how she preferred to kill her husband than to deal any longer with the obvious emotional issues in their marriage symbolized by his supposed killing of her bird.
I do wonder how everything would have played out if the men had been aware of the nervous stitching and the dead bird. Since they already believed that women's work and interests were only worth criticism and jokes, they may not have connected the evidence as easily as the women did.
January 30, 2006
"The World Trade Center was an example of what was wrong
With American architecture,"
Just as after death, an annoying uncle becomes revered and remembered for his sense of humor or strange talent by a family, so did the World Trade Center become a symbol for America after it was put in jeopardy. The speaker was able to find positive in these "ugly" buildings because of protective, sentimental feelings towards them. It makes me wonder how the speaker feels towards the towers now that they are gone.
What are someone's true feelings? Are they just as real if they are changed by a tragedy?