How can you compare "Trifles" to Albee's "The American Dream"?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both of these stories deal with isolation.  In "Trifles", Minnie is living with her husband off "down in the hollow".  The house was off the road, down a bit in a small hollow and so not easily spotted.  This means the house was much less likely to be visited, and Minnie would have spent much time either alone or only with her husband.  That isolation can do weird things to a person and to a marriage - without outside influences, there are no filters for a wife or husband to gauge their behaviors off of.  The suggestion in this play is that this caused Minnie to be abused by her husband.

In "The American Dream", the isolation also exists, though it is more individual.  Each character in the play lives in his or her own world, not really paying attention to the others.  The fact that Mommy and Daddy don't question Grandma's own wishes and plans demonstrates this.  This isolation causes them to behave insensitively towards one another - even if they are using shallow and insincere endearments.

Of course, another comparison is that both plays are done in only one act, and each play revolved around conversation that exists in one room - not action that happens on many sets.  The purpose here is to allow the audience to react to the subtle behaviors of the characters, allowing body language and figurative language to carry the story along.