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Why is the dead bird significant evidence in Trifles?

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The dead bird is a significant piece of evidence in Trifles as it tells us how and why Mrs. Wright snapped and killed her husband. Mr. Wright broke the bird's neck with a rope, and in response his wife flipped and killed him in the exact same way. The bird is clear evidence of Mrs. Wright's motive in killing her husband, which is why Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale hide it before anyone can see it.

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The bird is important because it provides a possible motive for the murder of Mr. Wright. When the women find the bird, with its neck broken, wrapped in a piece of silk in the sewing box, they immediately intuit what has happened. As a girl, Mrs. Wright was lively, and a good singer; thirty years of marriage to her taciturn husband has left her a shell of her former self. The bird, also a good singer, must have been a way for Mrs. Wright to cope with the endless work of farm life. The women surmise that Mr. Wright in a fit of impatience or vindictiveness killed the bird, and that his wife killed him in a fit of retaliation.

In a larger sense, the bird is important because it symbolizes how the emotional lives of women are unknown (and potentially unknowable) to the men. When the women come to crime scene, they immediately are able to understand the significance of small details in the room, which have significance to them because of their shared background as farm women. The importance of the broken jars of preserves is significant to them because they know how much work went into making them; no woman would be careless enough to let them freeze and burst unless something extraordinary had happened. The women decide to hide the bird from the men out of solidarity with Mrs. Wright; as one of them says, the real crime was not the murder, but that the women did not do a better job of taking care of each other.

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The dead bird, its neck broken by a rope, is a significant piece of evidence in determining what happened in the Wright household. It's clear that the bird had been unceremoniously yanked out of its cage before being brutally strangled to death by Mr. Wright. He was the only one who could've been responsible for this act because his wife truly loved that little bird, whose dead, broken body she carefully wraps in a silk handkerchief.

Having established what happened to the bird, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are now in a position to determine how Mr. Wright met his end. Angry and upset at the death of her bird, Mrs. Wright went out of her mind, and in a fit of rage subjected her husband to the same fate that he'd earlier meted out to the unfortunate bird.

The bird's dead body provides firm evidence of Mrs. Wright's motives in killing her husband. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale sense this straight away, which is why they hide the dead bird when they hear others approaching. They're sympathetic to Mrs. Wright and do not want her to get into serious trouble over what she's done.

Without this crucial piece of evidence, it will be a lot harder for the authorities to make a case against Mrs. Wright. Contrary to what Mrs. Wright's male neighbors might believe, the dead bird is very far from being a mere trifle.

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The dead bird is a significant piece of evidence in Trifles because the women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, realize that the door to the bird cage was violently ripped open and the little bird's neck broken. When Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters see this, they realize Mr. Wright must have killed the bird in a fit of rage.

The two women know that Mrs. Wright was lonely and trapped like the bird in the cage. They can tell she loved the bird because she has carefully wrapped it in a silk handkerchief.

From these pieces of evidence, along with the mess left in the kitchen, the women can deduce that Mrs. Wright snapped when her husband killed the bird and killed him in retaliation for the deed.

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In Susan Glaspell's Trifles, the little dead bird is significant for these reasons:

  1. The bird's neck has been wrung just as the neck of Mr. Wright has had a rope tied around it, choking him to death just as the bird died.
  2. Mrs. Hale recalls how Mrs. Wright used to be in the choir when she was young.  But, recently, she says that since Mrs. Wright has lived with the stern and reclusive Mr. Wright in such a "lonesome place," Mrs. Wright has not been herself. 
  3. The little canary is symbolic of the deeply sensitive soul of Mrs. Wright who used to sing when it was happy.
  4. When the women discover the dead canary, they understand the meaning of the bread outside the breadbox, the frantic and uneven stiches in the cloth, and the partially cleaned table.  Mrs. Wright has lost her music, the only thing that has held her together.

It is all these seemingly trifling things that put together with the dead bird solve the question of motive for Mrs. Wright's murderous act.  As they hear the men approach, the women, in empathy for Mrs. Wright, hide the bird, the trifle that indicates motive. 

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