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Trifles (0ne Act Play) Exercises


by Susan Glaspel



a. Do you believe that Mrs. Wright killed her husband? Explain.

Answer: Yes, I believe that Mrs. Wright killed her husband because the situations of neck are similar in both conditions. From the situation I believe that her husband killed her bird, a canary. Mrs. Wright loved the bird.  So, when her husband broke its neck, she couldn't bear it and she killed him. Moreover, Mrs. Wright had been the victim of domestic abuse too. She didn't have good relationship with her husband from the beginning. He was an obsessed man. Mrs. Wright killed him to get rid of all these difficulties.

b. Do you think Mr. Wright’s death would have been uncovered if Mr. Hale hadn’t stopped by the Wrights’ home?

Answer: No, I don't think Mr. Wright's death would have been uncovered if Mr. Hale hadn't stopped by the Wright's home. If Mr. Hale hadn't stopped by the Wrights' home, nobody would have known about Mr. Wright's death because the house was very far from the road. As a few people visit the house, she might have been able to hide the body.

c. Why does Mrs. Hale think that Mrs. Wright’s worries about her preserves indicate her innocence?

Answer: Mrs. Hale thinks that Mrs. Wright's worries about her preserves indicate her innocence because she takes care of the household things. She cares about every tiny thing related to her housekeeping skills. Such persons cannot dare to commit murder. Her carefulness towards her trifles related to housekeeping skills shows her innocence.

d. How does Mrs. Peters’ homesteading experience connect her to Mrs. Wright?

Answer: Mrs. Peters' homesteading experience connects her to Mrs. Wright in the following ways:

She had a kitten when she was a girl. She lost it because a boy killed it with a hatchet in front of her eyes. She became very angry with the boy. A sense of revenge was seen within her against the boy. This experience connects her to Mrs. Wright's revenge against the killer of her canary.

She lost her first child of two years old. She had gone through difficult time without her lovable child. This experience connects her to Mrs. Wright's tough time without her lovable canary.

e. How do the women’s perspectives on men differ?

Answer: The women believe that each of them have been suffered from domestic violence in a male dominated society. During the investigation, women's perspectives are ridiculed all the time by men. Women's acts and discussion aren't taken seriously by all men. When the men are looking for the evidence, women's perspectives are taken as trifles by men. But they find the motive behind the murder so they unify with Mrs. Wright against the law.


a. “MRS. PETERS:(glancing around). Seems funny to think of a bird here. But she must have had one, or why would she have a cage? I wonder what happened to it? MRS. HALE: I s’pose maybe the cat got it.”

i. Who does ‘she’ refer to?

Answer: She refers to Mrs. Wright.

ii. What does the word ‘one’ stand for?

Answer: The word 'one' stands for a bird.

iii. What is the full form of “s’pose”?

Answer: The full form of "s'pose" is "suppose."

iv. What do you mean when Mrs. Hale says, “the cat got it”?

Answer: When Mrs. Hale says, "the cat got it", I mean "the cat must have caught the bird."


b. “MRS. HALE: Wright was close. …… she used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir.

But that— oh, that was thirty years ago.”

i. Why does Mrs. Hale refer to Mrs. Wright as “Minnie Foster”?

Answer: Mrs. Hale refers to Mrs. Wright as "Minnie Foster" because Mrs. Wright was a very beautiful singer before her marriage. She was known as Minnie Foster who used to wear pretty clothes and sing in the choir.

ii. What does her description tell you about Mrs. Wright?

Answer: Her description tells me that Mrs. Wright was a quite beautiful singer before her marriage. She was well-known singer popularized as Minnie Foster. She used to wear pretty clothes at that time.

iii. What does Mrs. Hale mean by “that was thirty years ago”?

Answer: By 'that thirty years ago' Mrs. Hale means the past time while Mrs. Wright was an unmarried and well-known singer known as Minnie Foster.

c. What is the main theme of the play?

Answer: The main theme of the play is the status of women in contemporary American society and males' dominant nature over women. Apart from this, we find various themes within this play as isolation, loss of identity, revenge and violence, freedom by rebellion.

d. Discuss the symbolism used in the play.

Answer: Symbolism is a literary device that refers to the representation of a concept through symbols or underlying meanings of objects or qualities. Here in this play, we find various things that symbolize varieties of hidden meanings. The symbolism used in the play are as follows:

The preserves: feminineness

Rope: revenge

Singing Canary bird: freedom

The birdcage: restriction

Wrung neck of canary: revenge in a tit for tat manner

Knotting in a quilt: murdering with a rope

The rocking chair: place to get relax and fun


e. Discuss the setting of the play. Does it have an impact on the theme of the play?

Answer: This play is set on the abandoned farmhouse of Mr. John Wright. It is a lonely, gloomy and cold place. The place is very far from road. The setting has presented the lives of contemporary American women who used to live under the dominations and obligations of their husbands. They used to live within the boundaries of their houses in isolation and restriction. The setting of the house even suggests male dominance over women. The setting of the Trifles also helps to understand the characters and also moves the plot. 

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