In the drama perpetuated in "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell, there comes the sad story of Mr. John Wright, who was strangled to death using a rope when he was in bed. His wife Mrs. Wright was also present during the incident but never bothered to wake up to see what was happening. This play was first performed in 1916. Through this essay, the author is trying to depict the difficulties and problems that women go through in marriage. The descriptions made on Mrs. Wright enables us to conclude that she was not happy in her marriage with Mr. Wright. The night when Mr., John Wright met his death, his wife never woke up nor bothered to check on him, this act signifies that love is no longer in existence between the two. The question is who might have killed Mr. John Wright? Investigations are being carried out, that is the reason as for why Mrs. Wright sent Mrs. Peters who is a newcomer in the town and is married to the Sheriff, together with Mrs. Hales who assists Mrs. Peters with the investigations and is good at advising her. They are sent to the farmhouse to get some things for Mrs. Wright as well (Leki & Carson p.83). The discussions of the themes, characterization, and symbolism in the text are stipulated below.
In this play, various characters have been developed. Differently, others have been designed from their actions and others from the opinions of the other characters. Mrs. Hales for instance, through her efforts of answering back to the County Attorney with "...We call it-knot it Mr. Henderson..." is portrayed as being bold and confident. She even called the County Attorney by his name "Mr. Henderson" despite the fact that he is more powerful than her.
Moreover, Mrs. Hales has also been portrayed as being a feminist and considerate; she defends the women dignity, this is evident in the following statement " ...I would hate to have men coming into my kitchen snooping around and criticizing..(Schilb & Clifford, p.744)". Also, she is also aggressive and intelligent in that; she is the one that advices Mrs. Peter. In many occasions, for instance, she says "...better loosen your things Mrs. Peters you will never feel them when you go out...p.746". Therefore from this statement, she is seen as being brave.
Women are seen as saviors of themselves, in that, if they don't help themselves in the hands of men they will end up dying of depression and unhappiness. That is the reason as to why Mrs. Wright owned a bird, the bird acted like her companion, and when her husband died, she also killed the bird, and because of the love and affection she had, she buried the bird in a good box. Mrs. Hales is also depicted as a hardworking as well as a clean woman; "...she arranges the pans under the sinks which the lawyer had shoved them out...", Mrs. Hales is also portrayed as being observable; she notices that Mrs. Peters was nervous and immediately inquires with Mrs. Peters what might have triggered Mrs. Wright to be nervous like the way Mrs. Peters was nervous, Hales wanted to make a general assumption regarding the nervousness of Mrs. Wright as she was sewing. Mrs. Hales is also depicted as being resentful in her tone this is evident in the following ".. I don't know as there's anything strange our taking up our time with little things while we are waiting for them to get the evidence (Schilb &Clifford p.746)."
Mrs. Peters, on the other hand, have been developed differently; she is a lawyer by profession and is in charge of this case. Thus, this alone portrays her as being learned and intelligent. From the way she speaks and the tone, she uses her character can is developed. For instance; In her apologetic tone she was conversing with Mrs. Hales. "...of course they have got awful important things on their minds...p.746" Both Mrs. Hales & Mrs. Peters are depicted as being hardworking and intelligent they are both in a mission of finding who exactly killed Mr. Wright and they are using any small evidence that they get to aid them in their investigation. The dead bird that was found dead is one of the little evidence they will use in their case (Juliana Gitzen, p.34).
From Mrs. Hale's description, Mrs. Peters is portrayed as sweet and pretty but also timid and fluttery. Through flashback, when Mrs. Peter's recalls how her kitten was killed by a boy In front of her and could not do anything, this made her remember the sad moments, she loved her kitten when she was a baby, and therefore she is depicted as loving and caring.
In addition to other characters, such as Mr. Henderson. Their characters have been developed through the opinions of others. In Mr. Peter"s opinion, the County Attorney is depicted as an awful man and is mostly sarcastic in speech. Mrs. Peters says that if Mr. Henderson is given a chance to speak with Mrs. Wright, he'll make fun of her for not waking up when her husband was being strangled. From his statement to Mrs. Peters, it can also be deduced that he is a very sarcastic man, he uses sarcasm to bring out the authenticity of a text "...No, peters, it's all clear except a reason for doing it. But you know juries when it comes to women..." he also tells Mrs. Hales in a sarcastic tone that"...you and Mrs. Wright were neighbors I think you must be friends too." His tone was sarcastic. Moreover, he is portrayed as being inquisitive and more keen on observing, he observes that no one entered the room, he doesn't believe in superstition or ghosts when Mrs. Peter talks of the ghost cat (Schilb & Clifford, p.744). Despite being sarcastic, Mr. Henderson is also a hardworking man.
On the other hand, Sheriff, being one of the added characters. Is depicted as being inquisitive, he wants to know what happened to Mr. Wright, and what was Mrs. Wright doing when the incident occurred?
Mr. Hales is also depicted as being obedient he went outside and waited for sheriff and Mr. Henderson to finish their conversation. Sheriff calls Mr. Henderson to the other room to discuss issues that were private with an excuse for going to see the windows. Therefore sheriff is portrayed as being secretive.
The argument can be stated that the killing of Mr. John Wright might have been done by Mrs. Wright or not. Mrs. Wright was no longer interested in love and marriage. For her to be the first suspect she was found sitting alone in the house when Sheriff and the others arrived, there were no signs of anyone having come into the house. Including the strangled bird.
Other literary devices that have been used in this play are irony and symbolism which have further been illustrated; it's ironical for Mrs. Wright to deny having seen anyone tie a rope on Mr. John Wright's neck and strangle him to death as they sleep together in the same bed. She further refuses having done the act of suppressing killing him (Schilb &Clifford, p.744)
Symbolism has also been portrayed by the dead bird, which was also strung on the neck, the same way Mr. John Wright was strangled to death on the neck. Therefore whoever killed the bird is also involved at the end of Mr. John Wright.
The central theme of this drama is the plight of women in marriage has been portrayed by Mrs. Wright. Before she got married to Mr. Wright, she was a happy woman who used to sing in a church choir. After she got married to Mr. Wright, her husband restricted her from singing, and he never cared for her happiness. The happiness she once had turned to loneliness and grief. She was the first suspect in her husband's death.
This drama was written at the time when the society needed it most, in the contemporary living many marriages are falling apart due to increase divorces and unfaithfulness among the couples. Thus it helps portrays what goes behind the scene in the marriage life.
Atiyeh Kamyabi Gol.,A Study on my side bias and the Iranian EFL students: Theory and practice in langage studies.(2013)
Julian Gitzen, How to Be Postmodern: The Fiction of Julian Barnes and Alain de Botton,( 2001)
John Schilb & John Clifford, Arguing about literature: A Guide & Reader, Freedom and Confinement,n.d
Leki and Carson (1994) emphasize: "ability to write well is necessary both to achieve academic success and to demonstrate that achievement" (p. 83).
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