What is the importance of the bird to the overall action and tone of Susan Glaspell’s "Trifles"?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The little canary is a trifle whose significance is only known by the women because they do not share its discovery with the men. In a sense, the canary symbolizes Mrs. Wright (the former Minnie Foster). She is a woman married to an abusive man who has sucked all the joy out of life for her. It is intimated in the story that Mr. Wright most likely killed the canary by wringing its neck. It probably annoyed this severe, abusive man with its singing. His wife used to enjoy singing, before she married him. The reader must assume many things in this story, one of which is that Mr. Wright killed the canary and that was the final blow for his wife. She wrung his neck in the same way that he wrung the neck of her little canary. If the women had disclosed that they had discovered the canary, this "trifle", no doubt it would have provided further evidence that Mrs. Wright killed her husband. Without the canary, the men can just assume that the cat ate it, and not have any further proof to condemn Mrs. Wright for her husband's murder. They believe what the women tell them about the cat probably getting the canary because, after all, what do women know? They are so concerned with trifles.

The existence of the bird adds a lot of irony to the story. It is a mere trifle that, if discovered by the all-knowing, important men, could really clinch the case against Mrs. Wright. By not revealing the existence of the canary, the women prove that they are more in control of things than the men give them credit for. The canary also justifies, in a sense, the reason for Mrs. Wright strangling her husband, so there is a sense of justice in the end.

rezwana92 | Student

It is quite obvious that Mr. Wright killed the bird, the only campanion that Mrs. Wright had. If you paid attention, the way the bird was killed it was the same way Mr. Wright was killed. Mr. Wright "murdered " Mr. Wright the way he killed the  bird.

The Bird resembled the life Mrs. Wright once had.