A True Hero: Mrs. Hale

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                At first reaction, everyone believes the most important character is Mrs. Minnie Wright, in the play Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, even though this woman never says a line of dialogue. Well, that's because she isn't the most important character. Sure, she killed Mr. Wright, or at least all the evidence is pointing that she was the one who most likely did it, but this play isn't about her. It's about Mrs. Hale, the real detective in the story.

                Mrs. Hale is constantly taking punches left and right from the men in this story and suffering from her own guilty conscience for not coming around more often to visit Mrs. Wright. If nothing else, Mrs. Hale takes all the blame stating, "I wish I'd come over here once in a while! That was a crime!" (400). This illustrates just how far Mrs. Hale was willing to go for a woman she barely knew or at least had fallen out of touch with.

                Maybe she was just trying to ease her own mind or perhaps trying to take back some of the dignity she had lost over the years to men who saw her as unequal to their own status, but ultimately, Mrs. Hale was just trying to make things right. Besides she's the one saving the day for Mrs. Wright by stuffing the dead bird in her coat pocket. Now, that's a hero if I ever saw one.


Excellent close reading! I, like basically everyone else I've read from so far, saw Mrs. Wright as the main character, brought to life by the flatter secondary characters. Your blog completely changed my perspective on this story. I think the fact that Mrs. Hale called it a crime for her lack of visiting was very telling, now that you've pointed it out. She doesn't see Mrs. Wright as the offender, but rather a victim of circumstance.

Melissa Schwenk said:

Karyssa - Thanks. I didn't think about it at first either, but I kept seeing her name come up more than any of the other characters in the whole story. Then I realized she had the most important line: the last one. That's usually pretty telling. From that point, it just sort of snowballed into a thesis.

Do you think she hid the evidence as a way to protect Mrs. Wright, or as a way to protect the integrity of womanhood? If she did it to protect Mrs. Wright alone, I think it makes Mrs. Hale much more the round character as you describe her, because she's showing an emotional connection to a specific person. However, if she did it to protect the integrity of womanhood, she seems much more like a plot device to support feminism.

I'm just throwing ideas out here. I'm not even sure of her motive, even though I'm asking you.

Melissa Schwenk said:

I think that she hid the evidence because she felt guilty for not being around Mrs. Wright more. Plus, she understood why Mrs. Wright deemed it necessary to kill her husband after killing her tiny bird just for making too much noise. There was a parallel between how the women were treated by the men in the story that illustrates that Mrs. Hale is able to put herself in Mrs. Wright's shoes.

You should read my paper. I actually explain this more.

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