Glaspell continues to mix fact, rumor, and commentary, with a superfluity of rousing language and imagery, opening her next report with the reminder that Mrs. Hossack has been arrested for the death of her husband, “on charge of having beaten out his brains with an axe,” that the accused woman has employed the legal services of Mr. Henderson and State Senator Berry, that when arrested she showed no emotion and absolutely declined to make any statement concerning her guilt or innocence, and that while her family supported her “the public sentiment is overwhelming against her.”
In this article, Linda Ben-Zvi compares Trifles to a real life murder that Glaspell had covered as a reporter. The case involved a women who had murdered her husband and “beaten out his brains with an axe.” According to Ben-Zvi, when Glaspell had written about the case, Mrs. Hossack had shown “no emotion and absolutely declined to make any statement concerning her guilt or innocence.” After reading this, I decided to go back to reading Trifles and examine Mrs. Wright’s behavior. When I read the story the first time, my real concern was about Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale as they have the most dialogue. However, Mrs. Wright showed the same lack of emotions as Mrs. Hossack that indicated innocence or guilt. As the Mr. Hale describes his interaction with her: “Can’t I see John?’ ‘No’, she says, kind o’ dull like. ‘Ain’t he home?’ says I. ‘Yes’, says she, ‘he’s home’. ‘Then why can’t I see him?’ I asked her, out of patience. ”Cause he’s dead’, says she. ‘Dead?’ says I. She just nodded her head, not getting a bit excited, but rockin’ back and forth.” At first glance, Mrs. Hale’s reaction to me seemed to be out of shock. However, after examining the real court case, Mrs. Hale’s reaction seems nerve-wreckingly calm and aware. As Glaspell described the real murderer woman, “Though past 50 years of age, she is tall and powerful and looks like she would be dangerous if aroused to a point of hatred.” Through seeing Glaspell’s perspective of the actual murderer, it is easier to see that the story cannot be simplified to Mrs. Wright is mentally insane or a victim of circumstance as both women knew exactly what they were doing.