What are some quotes about Minnie Foster that describe how she was before she married John Wright? How is she revealed in the story? Or how is she portrayed?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During Mrs. Hale's and Mrs. Peters's inspection of Minnie Wright's house in Susan Glaspell's one-act play Trifles, the women find chaos in a household that is meant to be otherwise organized and collected.

There is incongruity in the Wright's home: the compote jars are burst with the cold temperature, the house is a mess, and Minnie's stitching is gone awry. This chaotic home reflects a chaotic marriage. Soon enough they will discover the ultimate piece of evidence; John Wright has apparently taken Minnie's canary and broken its neck. Considering the way in which the canary was found, wrapped inside a box, the audience can sense the pain and utter state of psychological abuse under which Minnie Wright has been living.

We learn about Minnie Wright mostly from Mrs. Hale, who used to be a visitor in the Wright household a long time ago. The first thing we know, as the ladies cannot find the canary inside the cage, is that Mrs. Wright "used to sing very pretty", which justifies owning a canary.

However, we learn more.

We learn slowly how the atmosphere of the house has changed so considerably that Mrs. Hale could not bring herself to visit any longer.

I could've come. I stayed away because it weren't cheerful -- and that's why I ought to have come. I -- I've never liked this place. [...] I dunno what it is, but it's a lonesome place and always was.

Another instance related by Mrs. Hale shows Minnie prior to her marriage being quite different, which introduces us to the overall state of her psyche.

[...] she kept so much to herself. She didn't even belong to the Ladies Aid. I suppose she felt she couldn't do her part, and then you don't enjoy things when you feel shabby. She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir. But that -- oh, that was thirty years ago.

Later on, as the women's observations continue, they find the famous stitching that looks as if the maker had gone out of control. This is clear evidence that the woman behind the stitching snapped. Women are known to take up quilting as a way to relax...what happened in the case of Mrs. Wright? Mrs. Hale seems to have found the answer:

Mrs. Peters, look at this one. Here, this is the one she was working on, and look at the sewing! All the rest of it has been so nice and even. And look at this! It's all over the place! Why, it looks as if she didn't know what she was about!

This is because Mrs. Wright had already lost control of her faculties by the time she snaps and kills her husband. It is sad, because it is noticeable how Minnie is described as a good singer, who used to wear nice clothes and who seems to have been much happier before she got married. Obviously, the end of her marriage is abrupt, but considering the circumstances, it is quite predictable.

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