Trifles Questions and Answers
by Susan Glaspell

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What are some elements of realism in the play Trifles?

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The play is realistic in describing the details of the everyday life of an American farmer's wife before World War I, so much so that it can function as social history. We learn, for example, that farm houses in that period did not have central heating. The kitchen is warmed by a stove, either wood or coal burning, and a wife must make sure it doesn't go out for too long.

We learn, too, that typically farm wives like Minnie Wright put up preserves in glass jars, bake homemade bread (Mrs. Wright has left bread dough in a pan to rise under a towel on a small table), sew, and make quilts. Farm wives stash dishes to be washed under the sink. They work hard and sometimes lead isolated lives, as Mrs. Peters' confirms. Nothing in Mrs. Wright's life seems magical, strange, or out of the ordinary but, instead, very typical.

It also makes realistic sense that the two women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, would identify with and understand Mrs. Wright's plight in a way that the men cannot. They notice...

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