Plays often have to make use of dialogue for exposition. What do you think of Glaspell's use of dialogue in Trifles?

Gaspell weaves exposition into Trifles through the dialogue between Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Wright. This dialogue provides the audience with a picture of Minnie Wright's life, both as a young woman and as a lonely, oppressed housewife. Gaspell handles the exposition skillfully, which allows her to complete the play in one act. She uses vivid imagery and keeps the dialogue moving, through it offering the information needed without having to dramatize the scenes of Minnie's former life.

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Gaspell does use dialogue as exposition. As Minnie Wright is not on scene to tell her story, much of it comes from the background that Mrs. Hale provides. Mrs. Hale knew her as a young person, and remembers how sweet and vibrant and pretty she was before her marriage. Mrs. Peters' recollections of her own background and experiences—both as an isolated housewife and as a girl witnessing a boy killing her kitten—also helps us understand Minnie.

The conversation the two women share about the kitchen as they look around it also helps us to understand what Minnie must have been going through. It is through dialogue rather than stage directions that we learn the door on the birdcage is broken and that Mrs. Wright's neat quilt stitching went awry at a certain point. All of this paints a picture of the distress Minnie must felt at the death of her canary, avoiding the need for a flashback scene. The exposition is done very skillfully, with imagery to make scenes come alive, such as the picture Mrs. Hale paints of the young Minnie in her white dress and blue ribbons. The exposition moves along quickly and provides the information the audience needs while never weighing down the storyline.

The dialogue is also used for more than exposition. The way the men talk to the women as if they were children and mock them makes clear that women are looked down on in this society. This helps us to see that John Wright's presumption that he had the right to kill Minnie's bird because it got on his nerves is part of a larger pattern of patriarchal devaluation of women.

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