To Kill A Canarie: "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell

Essay by remmyreeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2006

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Trifles are defined as "Something of little value or importance" ("Trifles" 580). A lot of times in life the solutions to or causes of problems can be rooted to trifles. In Susan Glaspell's "Trifles", a play based on an actual trial that took place in the early 1900's, when women did not have constitutional rights and were looked at as "property" (Rottenberg 737) trifles were a matter between life and death. Mrs. Wright, a woman with no children and an aggravated husband has one hope left, here canary. Mr. Wright, her husband becomes agitated with the bird and violently strangles it, and in turn, Mrs. Wright strangles her husband (Mr. Wright) in his sleep; the way that he murdered her bird. During the investigation two women become involved in the case through their husbands and they discover the truth about Mr. Wright's death. The women find a broken bird cage and later find the dead canary; strangled.

The men are too busy to look in the kitchen (where the bird and other evidence are found) and they consider the women's area and women's things to be trifles. The women hide the evidence from their husbands and the men never realize that the trifles the women discover could make or break their case. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters should have concealed the truth they learned about Mr. Wright's death. Although Mrs. Wright committed murder there are many reasons why her actions were justified.

Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale should have concealed the truth they learned about Mr. Wright's death because the women understand Mrs. Wright's inferior position as a woman. The play, which is based on actual events, was written in a time when women were considered "property" and hadn't yet won their right to vote.