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January 31, 2006

Closed Case?

Glaspell, ''Trifles'' (1916) -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)

County Attorney: Well, ladies, have you decided whether she was going to quilt it or knot it?

This play is very cynical and the men have a sarcastic attitude towards the women. They think that they are superior and smarter but they do not solve the case, it is the women who figure it out. They are too busy looking for clues where clues don't exsist. The women find clues and slowly piece it together. I think that Mrs. Wright is going to get away with the murder because it is the women that figure out what happened. The women in the play have a lot of sympathy toward Mrs. Wright, especially Mrs. Hale who is upset that she hadn't gone to visit Mrs. Wright more often. It's great that Glaspell left the ending open to so much interpretation.

Posted by SeanRunt at January 31, 2006 10:57 AM

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Sean, can you quote a particular line or stage direction that you feel is particularly worth discussing?

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 31, 2006 12:08 PM

I can't believe I fogot to do that, thanks.

Posted by: Sean at January 31, 2006 3:15 PM

I agree that the women will not reveal their clues, in order to protect Mrs. Wright. They have an instinctual need to protect her from the men, which may stem from the way they protect themselves in their own lives. If they give her up, they are revealing how much they really do know and may implicate themselves in some form in their own marriages.

Posted by: Jennifer DiFulvio at January 31, 2006 10:17 PM

Because I have the 11th edition of Roberts' book, I inadvertently read Chapter 3, part of which deals with character types: round or flat.

Round characters, according to the book, are three dimensional and react to their surroundings and circumstances and change with them. Flat characters pretty much remain the same no matter what happens.

I found it of note that the three women in Trifles are all round, even Mrs. Wright, who never appears on stage. We learn enough about each of them that they take on a greater meaning as the play continues. And they of course do change with the circumstances in the plot.

The men, however, remain flat. The most we learn about Mr. Wright is that he's mean and tyrannical, despite the fact he pays his bills, etc.

Really, except for them running in and out of the scene. They serve little purpose. The play could almost continue without them at all.

Posted by: Matt Hampton at February 1, 2006 8:05 AM

Matt, we'll be looking at Roberts' chapter on character next week. But your application of round/flat is very appropriate in this context. We're not meant to empathize with the men, not even the murder victim, because if we were, then we wouldn't be asking the same set of questions we ask ourselves (and each other) when we encounter "Trifles."

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 1, 2006 9:38 AM

Hale is putting women out to be weak. The men are talking to the women very carcastically and the women dont want the women to be found guilty and i agree with Sean.

Posted by: Shawn Schoolden at February 1, 2006 10:42 AM

That is part of the reason I like "Trifles" because it isn't necessary that you sympathize with the murder victim. Rather what we learn of him is that is was a mean, tyrannical like husband that wanted to control his wife. Another reason is that the men are looking for clues but it is the women, who understand Mrs. Wright's everyday life, who find them.

Posted by: Sean at February 1, 2006 11:00 AM

Perhaps this is women activism at its finest. Subtle and relative - They only find these "trifles" through conversation about Mrs.Wright's life, not Mr. Wrights murder. The instinct to protect Mrs. Wright is normal when you relate or believe in something - or even for that matter feel guilty about something (not visiting Mrs.Wright more often).

Posted by: Shanelle Kapusta at February 1, 2006 12:03 PM

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