Trifles by Susan Glaspell


English 1302


October 30, 2003


In this theatrical production, titled Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, Minnie Foster Wright is being accused of murdering her husband, John. In this production, Mrs. Wright is consistently referenced, and although she is not witnessed, she is very recognizable. There are important symbolisms in this play that signifies Mrs. Wright and her existence as it once was and as it currently exists to be. Particularly, to recognize one, the canary, this symbolizes Mrs. Wright’s long forgotten past. Additionally, the birdcage, this symbolizes her life as it currently exists. In addition, the rocking chair, this symbolizes her life as it has diminished throughout the duration of her most recently survived years. Lastly, but not least, the containers of cherry preserves that seem to be a symbol of the warmth and compassion that she has yet to discover in her life. Every one of these symbolizes and characterizes Mrs. Wright’s character and her existence in the play.


The canary and the birdcage are symbolic to Mrs. Wright’s life in the way that the bird represents her, and the cage represents her life and the way she was made to live. Mrs. Hale compares the canary that she and Mrs. Peters discover to Mrs. Wright, when Mrs. Hale refers to Mrs. Wright as “kind of like a bird herself—real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and—fluttery.” Minnie Foster was a distinctly different woman than Minnie Foster Wright, which was, evidently before she and John were married. She dressed appealingly in eye-catching clothing, was spirited, and, furthermore was one of the town girls that sang in the choir. While the canary was incredibly lively and sang beautifully, so did Mrs. Foster. John Wright was awfully abusive towards Mrs. Wright, in the means that he required her to live her life comparable to a caged bird. He obtained her freedom from the outside world, in return, explains why she recognized herself in the bird. She ventured out, only when she was allowed, and assuming that John also did not allow her to have friends, this led to the killing of the canary.


Mrs. Wright is referred to when Mrs. Hale speaks of her by using her maiden name, when saying “I wish you’d seen Minnie Foster when she wore a white dress with blue ribbons and stood up there in the choir and sang.” The old rocking chair symbolizes Mrs. Wright as she has allowed herself to depreciate, just as the rocking chair has depreciated. “The chair sagged to one side,” Mrs. Hale stated that the chair was not anything like she remembered, referring to the fact that Mrs. Wright has also changed since she remembered. This demonstrates that Minnie Foster, who was once something to look at, developed into the now down looking Minnie Wright.


It was a meticulous task that required hours of difficult labor in the high temperature of the kitchen. She took a great deal of pride in her production because she associated herself with the preserves, as this was the solitary thing in her life that she genuinely cherished. To fill the time in the gloomy household that had become her prison, she canned cherries that would give her a promise of something to look forward to in the cold, crisp winter. When the frigid cold temperatures found Minnie in a jail cell, faraway from her kitchen, and her preserves, she found herself concerned that the jars would freeze up and break. When the coldness positioned itself into the house, the jars shattered and produced a sticky mess, comparable to the chaos that she had now placed her life in. Minnie had a trivial amount of happiness in her life, and not a great deal to be pleased with, while being married to an abusive man like John Wright was a difficult burden for her to bear. The jars of preserves burst open from exposure to the cold, just as Mrs. Wright broke from her exposure to her forbidding husband.


In conclusion, Trifles by Susan Glaspell refers to several symbolic references that furthermore depict Mrs. Wright and her existence. The use of symbolism in this play is very important. This play was written in a way that could not