If a twenty-first century playwright were to write an updated version of Trifles, what details of the plot, characters, and setting would be different from those in Glaspell's play? What would be the same? What are some possible "trifles" that might serve the same dramatic functions as those in Glaspell's play?

If a twenty-first century playwright rewrote Trifles they would most likely keep the power dynamic of an abusive man controlling women. The murder in self-defense or fear would also remain in the play. However, the setting might change. More women work now, and few people farm, so the play might take place in an office setting.

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Since only about one percent or fewer of Americans still earn their living through family farming, it is unlikely that a farm setting would be chosen as typical of the American experience.

It would be plausible, therefore, to put the situation in the context of an office environment. Most women...

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Since only about one percent or fewer of Americans still earn their living through family farming, it is unlikely that a farm setting would be chosen as typical of the American experience.

It would be plausible, therefore, to put the situation in the context of an office environment. Most women in modern society work outside the home. We could envision a women-dominated industry, such as a break room frequented by nursing aides or tellers's stations in a bank. The murdered man would be a boss known to be verbally abusive, to deny women raises and opportunities to advance, and perhaps even to be sexually harassing or abusive towards some of the women. We would have to picture the women perhaps in a small-town setting—maybe they are divorced or single mothers with many responsibilities. They could be forced to rely on their jobs to support their families with few other work options where they live. What would not change would be the power dynamic of a powerful and abusive man, with subordinated women economically dependent on him.

We could imagine the boss being murdered one day. A woman (perhaps the last one known to be at work) would be arrested for the crime. Coworkers might gather in her workspace or maybe the break room frequented by the women. The detectives would not be interested in this space, but the women might see "trifles" that would lead them to realize that it was here that the woman snapped because she was sexually assaulted. Maybe they would see the mace she had bought recently to defend herself rolled under a table and buttons from her blouse scattered on the floor. And perhaps her work would be scattered all over as if she had been interrupted. Her coworkers, understanding these clues, would piece together that she had snapped and murdered the man in self-defense. There are many plausible ways you could update this story once your imagination gets going. These are simply some ideas to get you started.

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