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Would the play Trifles by Susan Glaspell be different if it were set in New York City?

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lovestinks | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 3, 2013 at 10:41 PM via web

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Would the play Trifles by Susan Glaspell be different if it were set in New York City?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:35 AM (Answer #1)

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Certainly the isolated farm contributes greatly to the formation of the plot and the development of Mrs. Wright's character in the play Trifles. For, removed from town where she has sung in the choir and socialized with others, an alienated Mrs. Wright becomes repressed by an unfeeling husband and becomes lonely, finding joy only in the songs of her little canary until her husband kills it.

Now, if the setting were to change from a remote farm in Iowa to the busy metropolis of New York City, Mrs. Wright would clearly not be miles away from other people. However, it is yet possible to express the theme of alienation with such a different setting.  For instance, Mrs. Wright's youth could have been spent in a small town where people knew one another, and where the townspeople were much the same nationality. If Mrs. Wright were to have married a man who is from a large metropolitan area such as New York City, as well as being of a different ethnicity from her, she could, then, easily feel estranged and be lonely despite being surrounded by people. For instance, if Mrs. Wright were of Irish descent and she married a Greek immigrant to the United States, she would find herself, perhaps, immersed in a neighborhood of Greeks whose food, customs, likes and dislikes, etc. are very different from those to which she has been accustomed, she would surely feel alienated. And, if her husband were to make no efforts to include her in his extended family and culture, leaving her home when he participates in a cultural ceremony or function, she would certainly be as bereft as on the Iowa farm, that Mrs. Hale calls "a lonesome place" where there are "years of nothing." 

Mrs. Hale expresses this truth that a person can experience aloneness, or "stillness" as Mrs. Peters terms it, anywhere when she declares,

We all go through the same things--it's all just a different kind of the same thing.

Living with a taciturn man with nowhere to find companionship can be a situation that a woman experiences in a city as well as on a farm.                                      

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