Trifles Questions and Answers
by Susan Glaspell

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What are the main literary elements that are used in Trifles?

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An important literary device used in the play is foregrounding. Glaspell focuses centrally on what would normally be marginalized characters in a murder mystery: the wives of the detectives. Rather than following the investigation that the professional men are conducting, which we never see, Glaspell's play is told from the point of view of the wives. Point of view is extraordinarily important in a work of literature, as it colors the audience's perception of everything that happens.

Because the women notice all the trifling details that the men overlook, they are able to piece together the crime in a way that eludes the trained professionals. This highlights the theme that a gender gap in society leads men and women to look at life through a very different set of lenses.

A second important literary device used is pathos or sentiment. The facts of her life that emerge encourage us to feel sympathy and sorrow for Minnie's plight. The details Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover reveal that...

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