In Susan Glaspell's one-act play, "Trifles," through the inspection of the "trifles," how did the women find their identification?
Identification is a strong feeling of sympathy, understanding or support for somebody or something.
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The women, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, come to Mrs. Wright's house to gather some things to take to the jail where Mrs. Wright is being held for the murder of her husband.
When they arrive, they do not know Mrs. Wright well, and do not feel a connection to her.
In looking through the things that are of importance to Mrs. Wright, the men dismiss them, and the worries women have for them, calling them "trifles." This makes the two women defensive and resentful.
As they look for clothes and other items to take with them, the women find an empty birdcage, and soon, in the sewing box, the mangled body of a canary that Mrs. Wright must have intended to bury. The women deduce that Mr. Wright must have killed the bird, which sent Mrs. Wright into a fit of rage so that she killed her husband in his sleep.
With this discovery, Mrs. Peters recalls a boy who murdered her kitten with a hatchet when she was a child. She was devastated and admits that had she had the chance, she would have...hurt...the boy. In this she can sympathize as to how traumatic it was for Mrs. Wright when Mr. Wright broke the bird's neck.
Mrs. Peters also understands how disconcerting the stillness in the house would have been after losing the bird. Mrs. Peters had lost a two-year old child years before, and the stillness in the house almost was her undoing. The women can only imagine how hard it must have been for their neighbor to no longer hear the joyful sound of her bird singing around her, the only bright spot in her dismal life.
The men that have accompanied the women have insulted the work and world of women several times since they all arrived. For Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, this has made it easier to see the men in a manner in which they had not done so before: it dramatically demonstrates to them how different men and women are, and how little regard the men have for the struggles and hardships of women. This is something that helps them decide not to share their discoveries with the men.
At the same time, they can more easily understand how isolated Mrs. Wright felt at the hands of her husband, how lonely she was for company, and how much all of the women actually have in common, though they hadn't felt connected to her until now.
The women find their "identification" in learning about the difficulties and realities of life that they have in common: in studying the "trifles" in their lives. In discovering that they are alike after all, the women can sympathize with Mrs. Wright, and they have a clearer image of their own lives in the midst of a world controlled by men.
As a side note, this play was based upon a true story.
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