Would anyone consider any passage from Susan Glaspell's play, "Trifles," to possess any lyrical elements?If so, what poetic images, figurative language, descriptive language, etc. make it...

Would anyone consider any passage from Susan Glaspell's play, "Trifles," to possess any lyrical elements?

If so, what poetic images, figurative language, descriptive language, etc. make it rhetorically effective?

Thank You.

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auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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What I most appreciate about this work in terms of figurative language is the drama of the broken fruit jars.  There is a lyricism to the "dance" of canning, one which all women of that day would have known.  Instead of a smooth operation there has been a horrendous, crashing denouement, resulting in broken glass, spilled sugar, and a sticky mess. The symmetry of the process has been disrupted and jars, literally, the senses of these two women who are quite familiar with this dance. 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In addition to kwoo1213´s response, I would add that this is an excellent part of the play to analyse, because actually the bird becomes a symbol for Minnie herself. Look at how Mrs. Hale describes Minnie in terms of a bird straight after the discovery of the dead canary. This helps us to understand how Minnie has been "killed" metaphorically by her husband. She just returns the favour.

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Would anyone consider any passage from Susan Glaspell's play, "Trifles," to possess any lyrical elements?

If so, what poetic images, figurative language, descriptive language, etc. make it rhetorically effective?

Thank You.

  I would consider the part of the play when the ladies find the dead canary wrapped up a poetic image, yes.  It is the climax of the play/story and is especially poignant.  The way the author describes the bird so carefully wrapped up is very sad and makes the reader realize how very special the bird was to Minnie Wright.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Yes, I would.  Susan Glaspell has created a very poetic piece and imagery abounds.  There are no unimportant words or actions--everything leads to the conclusion that the intuitive women solve very quickly but that the condescending and stereotypical men miss completely. Everything that is said and done, from the way the characters enter Mrs. Wright’s kitchen to the discovery of her dead canary, relates in some way to the mystery at hand.   The broken birdcage, the broken fruit jars, the half-cleaned mess on the table, the sewing box with the carefully wrapped dead canary in beautiful material--all of these are images that lead the women to the conclusion that John Wright was an unfeeling, heartless, isolating, and controlling man who was cruel to the point of taking away everything Minnie loved of life.  When he killed her bird, that was the last straw.  The women show strength and solidarity and speak in lilting language that both show their feminity and their strength of character.  They understand Minnie and although they never speak the words, "Let's hide this stuff so the men won't convict her," they both come to the conclusion that although she did commit murder, she does not deserve more suffering.  Like the bird that brought Minnie brief joy in her life with John Wright, the women decide to set her free.  There is much poetry in this play.

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