What is a strong thesis statement on why Minnie Wright killed her husband Mr. Wright in Trifles? 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having long endured deprivation, isolation, and oppression, Minnie Wright finally reaches a breaking point when the only thing of beauty and carrier of joy in her stark home is destroyed.

A thesis statement, especially for a five-paragraph essay, will need to have three points that then are developed into the topic sentences for the body of the essay. Details from the play should be used as support. Here are a few examples for the main points:

  • Deprivation

Early in the play Trifles, the sheriff's wife, Mrs. Peters, and a neighbor, Mrs. Hale, look around the kitchen of the Wright home as the men seek clues upstairs. As Mrs. Peters gathers clothes for the now jailed Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Hale examines a skirt and notices how shabby it is. She remarks on the woman's deprivation and adds that Minnie Wright did not even belong to the Ladies' Aid:

MRS. HALE 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.

  • Isolation

Before her marriage to John Wright, Minnie Foster was an active part of her community and lived in town. But after marrying, Mrs. Wright now lives in an isolated farmhouse without any children and with only the most taciturn of men. While Mr. Wright is not a drinker and he keeps his word, Mrs. Hale tells her companion in the kitchen:

MRS. HALE But he was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to pass the time of day with him. (Shivers) Like a raw wind that gets to the bone. (Pauses, her eye falling on the bird cage.) I should think she would'a wanted a bird....

Because the farmhouses are distant from one another (in Iowa there are farms composed of hundreds of acres), Mrs. Hale regrets now that she did not visit Mrs. Wright more often. She reflects that Mrs. Wright is something like a bird herself:

MRS. HALE ....real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and--fluttery. How--she--did--change.

  • Oppression

The two pensive women regard antiquated and worn out things in the kitchen, such as the old stove on which it would be difficult to cook, and then the erratic stitching of the quilt, the broken bird cage, and the pretty box in which the dead canary, whose neck has been wrung, is laid. As they contemplate all these things, they piece together a life of quiet despair relieved, perhaps, only by the lovely song of the canary.

So when they overhear the county attorney conclude that he has all the pieces to the murder except "a thing that would connect up with this strange way of doing it," Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Wright look pointedly at each other. It is then that the two women decide to protect the deprived, lonely, and oppressed Mrs. Wright, who has killed her husband for having taken from her the only thing of beauty and joy that she had.    

Read the study guide:
Trifles

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