Do you think that Mr. Wright's death would have been uncovered if Mr. Hale hadn't stopped by the Wrights' home in Trifles?

In Trifles, it is possible that if Mr. Hale had not stopped by the farmhouse, the death of Mr. Wright would not have been uncovered for a long time. Few people visited the farmhouse, and Mrs. Wright might have been able to hide the body and somehow keep others from discovering her husband's death.

Expert Answers

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To find out whether Mr. Wright's death would have been found out if Mr. Hale had not stopped by the Wright farmhouse, we have to look carefully for indications in the text of the one-act play Trifles by Susan Glaspell. The play opens as Mr. and Mrs. Hale, Sheriff and Mrs. Peters, and the county attorney George Henderson enter the house. Minnie Wright has already been arrested for the murder of Mr. Wright, and the men are intent on discovering clues to confirm that she is indeed the killer.

Before the men instigate their search, the sheriff asks Hale to explain what he found the previous day when he arrived at the farmhouse. Hale and his son Harry had been on their way to town with a load of potatoes and stopped by the farmhouse to ask Wright if he was interested in a telephone party line. When he entered the house, the kitchen was in a mess, and Mrs. Wright was in a rocking chair pleating her apron. She seemed distraught and distracted, and she told Hale that her husband was dead upstairs. When Hale came back down, she moved to another chair and just sat looking frightened.

After the men have gone upstairs, the women talk together. Mrs. Hale used to know Mrs. Wright when she was single and known as Minnie Foster, but they lost touch over the years. Mrs. Wright didn't socialize much, and Mrs. Hale confesses that she had not been there for a long time. When the women find the broken cage and the dead canary, they realize that Minnie Wright must have killed her husband after Mr. Wright killed the canary, but they decide not to share that evidence.

If Mr. Hale had not stopped by the farmhouse, we assume that he would have had no interest in installing a party line telephone with Mr. Wright. If this is true, then Hale would have had no reason to visit the farmhouse at any time in the near future. Mrs. Hale confesses that she had stopped visiting Mrs. Wright, so it's possible nobody would have come by the farmhouse after Mrs. Wright killed her husband. This means that nobody would have found out about the murder unless Mrs. Wright would have left the farmhouse and gone to tell someone. Considering how Mr. Hale described Mrs. Wright's distraught, confused, and frightened state of mind after she had killed her husband, it is unlikely that she would have gone for help. It is more probable that she would have gotten rid of the body somehow, perhaps buried it if the ground was not too frozen. It is possible that the murder would still eventually have been discovered, but it might have taken months or even years, considering how few visitors the Wrights ever got.

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