MRS HALE: I might have known she needed help! I know how things can be—for women. I tell you, it’s queer, Mrs Peters. We live close together and we live far apart. We all go through the same things—it’s all just a different kind of the same thing, (brushes her eyes, noticing the bottle of fruit, reaches out for it) If I was you, I wouldn’t tell her her fruit was gone. Tell her it ain’t. Tell her it’s all right. Take this in to prove it to her. She—she may never know whether it was broke or not.
MRS PETERS: (takes the bottle, looks about for something to wrap it in; takes petticoat from the clothes brought from the other room, very nervously begins winding this around the bottle. In a false voice) My, it’s a good thing the men couldn’t hear us. Wouldn’t they just laugh! Getting all stirred up over a little thing like a—dead canary. As if that could have anything to do with—with—wouldn’t they laugh!
In the beginning of this piece of dialogue, Mrs. Hale discusses her individual emotions and experience. She uses phrases such as “I might have known” and “I know how things can be.” However, this dialogue changes when Mrs. Hale distinguishes that she knows how things are specifically for women. At this moment, the play’s dialogue begins to use more communal language rather than how the women feel as unique individual people. Mrs. Hale discusses how “we live close together and we live far apart” and how “we all go through the same things, it’s all just a different kind of the same thing.” The play highlights that all women go through similar experiences. Furthermore, the play not only focuses on a “we,” which represents the female community, but also a “them.” Mrs. Peters talks about how “the men can’t hear us.” While she is talking about the county attorney and the sheriff, she does not refer to them by their names but rather their gender. In addition, Mrs. Peters repeats twice how “wouldn’t they just laugh.” In this line, the word “they” is repeated similarly to how “we” was used earlier by Mrs. Hale. Since “we” was used to refer to women in general and not just Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, the word “they” represents men in general and not just the county attorney and the sheriff. Through the transition of characters using “I” to “we” and “them,” Susan Glaspell is able to show a gender-based distinction of the experiences of Minnie Foster in the play Trifles.
Source: Literary Close Reading