Mrs. Hale: She-come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself-real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and-fluttery. How-she-did-change. (Glaspell, “Trifles”)
When Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale found the birdcage, I immediately thought about the similarities between Mrs. Wright’s life and the life of a bird. The description Mrs. Hale provides paints such a picture for the audience; it is easy to imagine this lovely, bird-like woman locked up by her husband. My favorite word in this quote is “fluttery.” It is simple, but sums up Mrs. Wright’s personality and appearance. I can see in my mind a slight, fragile woman flitting around the kitchen preparing dinner or haphazardly working on her sewing while her hands shake.
The punctuation in this quote, and throughout the entire play, add a sense of realism. Nobody in real life always knows exactly what to say or how to act. Through the dialogue, Glaspell makes her characters seem real. The pauses, dashes, and dropped statements allow the reader or audience to relate to these women. They are just housewives trying to understand a desperate woman’s motivation and their language shows it. They are normal people talking with one another without scripts. Comically, the words are deliberately scripted (this is a play after all), but Glaspell succeeds in making the language sound natural.