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The one-act play of Susan Glaspell, Trifles, opens with all the characters entering a farmhouse, now abandoned because John Wright, the owner, is dead and his wife, Minnie is in jail under suspicion of the murder. Into this now desolate house, the men first enter the kitchen, followed by the women. It is a cluttered room, with unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread sitting out, a dish towel on the table, and "other signs of incomplete work." As the women enter, they have a look of nervousness and discomfiture upon them as they huddle together. Then, when the County Attorney goes to the sink and washes his hands, he notices that the "roller towel" has no clean spots; he remarks that Mrs. Wright is "[N]ot much of a housekeeper..." as he kicks his foot against the dirty pans under the sink.
These stage directions convey a sense of the forlornness of the farmhouse set far from others and the possible depression of Mrs. Wright, who apparently has loss interest in cleaning her kitchen. Sensing the deep melancholy of the kitchen, the room Mrs. Wright occupied most of her day, the women "move a little closer together." Certainly, the frigid temperatures also connote the relationship of genders and, especially the relationship of the repressed Mrs. Wright with her cold husband.
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