In Susan Glaspell's one-act play Trifles, what are the major discoveries of the play?A discovery is any new information of sufficient importance to alter the direction of action.

1 Answer | Add Yours

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

One major discovery made in the play "Trifles" is the dead canary the women (Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters) find in the sewing basket.

Up until this point, the neighboring women who have come in to gather things to take to the jail have had their doubts about their neighbor Mrs. Wright, and her innocence in the death of her husband.

The men who are investigating the house while the women are there brush aside the importance of the things women do each day as trivial, as "trifles." This in itself antagonizes the women and makes them more sympathetic, better able to understand Mrs. Wright's obvious unhappiness living with such a cold, uncaring husband.

However, when they find the broken bird cage, and then the dead canary, wrapped as if waiting to be buried, their sympathy becomes more open between them, and they recognize the separation they feel from the authority and uncaring attitudes of the men; so much so, that they keep their discoveries a secret from the men. If the husband killed the bird, as it seems, they can finally understand that with all she had put up with from her husband in the past, this act drove her to the brink, and she probably did kill him. However, in an act of solidarity with another of their kind, they remain silent about what they suspect.  Ironically, when they had had no sense of who Mrs. Wright was or her plight in life when they arrived, they now do what the County Attorney had assumed that had done earlier, in trying to protect another woman: "Ah, loyal to your sex, I see."

We’ve answered 318,931 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question