In the play Trifles by Susan Glaspell, the title is ironic because it is the small details that provide the answers for the ladies as to what happened in the death of John Wright. Mr. Hale, the neighbor of the Wrights, states that the women are used to dealing with trifles.
If the women were to present Minnie Wright’s case based on their investigation, what would they include in their case?
The character of Minnie Wright
Mrs. Wright’s character was impugned by the county attorney as he looked in her kitchen. He indicated that she was a poor housekeeper. With more observation, it is obvious that Minnie cared about her house and work. She spent many hours canning for the winter.
Implying that it was odd to worry about whether her canning survived the cold, a man would not understand that the work is tedious and difficult. Her kitchen was disturbed, but no one knows what actually happened to the dirty towels and pans which were out of place.
Mrs. Wright’s life, severe in comparison to the other women, was unrelenting household chores. She had an uncommunicative husband who forbid her to have new clothes, new furniture, or pets. Both of the other women understand her plight and experiences.
As a young girl, Minnie was a pretty, happy girl who attended church and sang in the choir. Since her marriage, Minnie no longer had the clothes to go to church. Her life now was dreary. The Wrights had no children; consequently, it must have been lonely for her.
The victim and the Wright's life
John Wright was not a pleasant man. When a person was around him, he was like a raw wind. Based on the change in Minnie Wright, her husband had been abusive toward her.
Mrs. Hale testifies, “I might have known [Mrs. Wright] needed help! I know how things can be – for women. … We all go through the same things – it’s all just a different kind of the same thing.”
Mrs. Wright was an excellent seamstress who was making a quilt. Her stitches were excellent until the last bit of sewing which was uncharacteristically poor work.
Mrs. Hale: …look at this one. Here, this is the one she was working on, and look at the sewing! All the rest of it has been so nice and even. And look at this! It’s all over the place! Why, it looks as if she didn’t know what she was about!
Something unusual happened during the time that she was sewing on her quilt.
What was it?
Mrs. Peters makes an important discovery: a bird cage with the door almost pulled off its hinges. The bird was missing. Eventually, the bird is discovered in a sewing box wrapped in a piece of satin cloth. Obviously, Mrs. Wright intended on burying the bird in the box. The bird’s neck had been twisted and wrung.
This bird was important to Minnie. Its music filled the silence in her house. Wright did not like the bird---it made too much noise. Minnie used to sing, and she stopped. Wright killed the bird to stop it from singing too.
When Minnie was found by Mr. Hale, it was obvious that she was in shock. Even though she had placed a noose around the neck of her husband, it was not just to pay him back for the murder of her bird. It was for thirty years of abuse. Mr. Wright had pushed her too far.