Trifles Summary

Trifles summary

In Trifles, three men and two women enter the house of one Minnie Wright, an Iowan woman suspected of murdering her husband. The men search for clues, but the women, seeing the titular "trifles" (a broken bird cage, a dead canary), feel sympathy for Minnie, knowing that her husband was abusive.

Trifles summary key points:

  • Sheriff Henry Peters, lawyer George Henderson, and neighbor Lewis Hale enter the empty farmhouse to investigate the murder of its previous occupant, John Wright.

  • Henderson questions Lewis, whose portrait of Wright suggests an unsociable neighbor and careless husband. Wright’s wife, Minnie, is the primary suspect in the murder.

  • The men search for clues but ignore Minnie's space, the kitchen. Their wives, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, begin their own search there, gathering things to take to the jailed woman.

  • The women find signs of Minnie's unhappiness everywhere, including a broken bird cage and a canary with a broken neck—a final straw that might have led Minnie to kill her cruel husband.

  • The women decide to hide the evidence from the men; they conceal the trifles their husbands wouldn’t understand, and the men return without proof of Minnie's guilt.


The setting for Susan Glaspell's Trifles, a bleak, untidy kitchen in an abandoned rural farmhouse, quickly establishes the...

(The entire section is 1209 words.)