In Trifles, how does the stereotyping affect the investigation?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Mr. Hale's insensitive remark that stereotypes his wife and Mrs. Peter--"women are used to worrying over trifles"--unifies the two and alienates them from the male characters in the play. In fact, the stage directions read, (The two women move a little closer together). 

In their unification, the women extend some of their feminine loyalty to Mrs. Wright, whom they sense has also been subjected to male chauvinism, albeit in a much greater degree.  For instance, Mrs. Hale defends her against the criticisms of her housekeeping, and how she was treated by her husband,

MRS. HALE. It never seemed a very cheerful place....

COUNTY ATTORNEY. You mean that they didn't get on very well?

MRS. HALE. No, I don't mean anything. But I don't think a place'd be any cheerfuler for John Wright's being in it.

Certainly, it is because of this bonding together of the women as a result of the callous remark about trifles that increases their sympathy for Mrs. Wright against her insensitive husband. Their sympathy, in turn, leads the women to search through things in the kitchen; and, when they discover the dead songbird, they hide this critical bit of evidence, this "trifle," from the County Attorney and the Sheriff. Ironically, it is the puportedly insignificant items which indicate motive in the slaying of Mr. Wright . Trifles could will solve the crime, but because the men have scoff at them and do not bother to look in the kitchen, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters conceal them and Mr. Wright's murder remains a mystery. 

 

 

 

 

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