The play, Trifles, and the short story,"A Jury of Her Peers," both by Susan Glaspell , are the same story told through a different medium. As such, there is little variation between them. The dialogue retains a nearly word-for-word similarity, and the narration in the story closely...
The play, Trifles, and the short story,"A Jury of Her Peers," both by Susan Glaspell, are the same story told through a different medium. As such, there is little variation between them. The dialogue retains a nearly word-for-word similarity, and the narration in the story closely coincides with the stage instructions in the play. The two main differences are that Martha Hale's perspective and feelings become the primary point of view in the short story and that in the short story Glaspell emphasizes the importance of the evidence the women find, making it clear that they know exactly what they are doing.
The story begins with Mrs. Hale at her house, preparing to ride by wagon to the Wrights's with Sheriff Peters and his wife. Readers get a glimpse into her backstory that they do not get in the play. Throughout the story, Glaspell tells the reader what Mrs. Hale is thinking. In the play, viewers must surmise from characters's actions, words, and expressions what is in their minds. Readers understand Mrs. Hale's skepticism about Mrs. Peters and her growing trust that the woman understands Minnie's plight.
Three parts of the story serve to emphasize the import of the women's act of withholding evidence. First, when the county attorney tells Mrs. Peters to keep an eye out for any useful evidence, he adds this line that does not appear in the play: "No telling; you women might come upon a clue to the motive—and that's the thing we need." The play hints at this—that what is necessary to convict Minnie Wright is something to show motive—but it is not as heavy-handed as in the story. Second, when Mrs. Hale laments to Mrs. Peters that she should have known Mrs. Wright needed help, this line is added in the story that is not in the play: "If it weren't—why do you and I understand? Why do we know—what we know this minute?" Again, this makes it unavoidably clear that the two women know Mrs. Wright murdered her husband and why. Finally, the story drives the point fully home when the dead canary is referred to as "the thing that would make certain the conviction of the other woman." This makes sure the reader knows how crucial the evidence is that the women withhold.
Although the story and play are very similar, Glaspell uses the short story medium to clarify the decision the women make so that the two women bear full responsibility for the leniency that will certainly be shown to Mrs. Wright. They play the role of Mrs.Wright's jury, and the reader is left to grapple with whether the women were justified in interfering with the legal system.