How can I create a plot synopsis for Trifles?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A synopsis differs from a summary in that it often identifies the theme of the narrative along with the key characters of whom one is the protagonist.  In addition, a synopsis often includes the date of publication of the literary work and a very brief background.With respect to Susan Glaspell's one-act play, Trifles, it may be interesting to mention that it was first performed in 1916, and is based upon a news report on the axe murder of a man by his unhappy wife that Glaspell covered when she was a reporter for the Des Moines News [see a link below for more imformation].

The synopsis, then, will commence with a strong first paragraph that includes an explanation of the setting of the play and the reason for the presence of the characters at this abandoned farmhouse. These characters should be identified; and, in the case of this play, it may be well to indicate the division (a subtle, but meaningful conflict) between the men who dismiss the kitchen as insignificant and the women who wait for the county attorney and sheriff in the kitchen. Then, of course, a summary of the major plot turns should be mentioned, as well as how the plot and its conflicts are resolved.  In Trifles, for instance, it is the supercilious remarks of Sheriff Peters that there is nothing of importance in the kitchen and that "women are used to worrying over trifles" that ignites the gender conflict which leads to the women's quiet refusal to disclose the incriminating evidence that they uncover against another woman, Mrs. Wright.


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