Trifles By Susan Glaspell Symbolism Essay Sample

Essay Symbols in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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Symbols in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

In the play titled Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, Minnie Foster Wright is being accused of murdering her husband, John. In this production, Mrs. Wright is consistently referenced, and although she is not witnessed, she is very recognizable. There are important symbols in this play that signifies Mrs. Wright and her existence as it once was and as it currently exists to be. Particularly the canary, this symbolizes Mrs. Wright's long forgotten past. Additionally, the birdcage, this symbolizes her life as it currently exists. Certainly the quilt is a symbol, which is an important clue on how Mr. Wright was killed. In addition, the rocking chair, this symbolizes her life as it has diminished throughout…show more content…

While the canary was incredibly lively and sang beautifully, so did Mrs. Foster. John Wright was awfully abusive towards Mrs. Wright, in the means that he required her to live her life comparable to a caged bird. He obtained her freedom from the outside world, in return, explains why she recognized herself in the bird. This explains for the reasoning of their house being far set back into the woods and having no telephone service. She ventured out, only when she was allowed, and assuming that John also did not allow her to have friends, this led to the killing of the canary.

The quilt is one major clue as to how Minnie killed her husband. The women were trying to figure out if she was going to sew or not the quilt. Well, Mr. Wright was strangled in a strange manner, just how the knot was messed up in red string. The men laughed it off butt Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters knew what had happened.

Mrs. Wright is referred to when Mrs. Hale speaks of her by using her maiden name, when saying ?I wish you?d seen Minnie Foster when she wore a white dress with blue ribbons and stood up there in the choir and sang.? The old rocking chair symbolizes Mrs. Wright as she has allowed herself to depreciate, just as the rocking chair has depreciated. ?The chair sagged to one side,? Mrs. Hale stated that the chair was not anything like she remembered, referring to the fact that Mrs. Wright has also changed since she

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Susan Glaspell, an author of one-act play “Trifles” (1916), described the position of women in the twentieth-century American society through symbolism. An author argued that men restricted women rights and freedom; they strived to make their wives dependable. Among several symbols used by Susan Glaspell in her play, the most important one is definitely a bird.

A bird is used in reference to the main character of the play, Minnie Foster, who became Mrs. Wright after her marriage to John Wright. Mrs. Wright had a canary in the cage in their quiet farmhouse. The bird used to sing a lot, but Mr. Wright did not like this singing. There were no children in their family, and Minnie often felt lonely and miserable. That is why she bought a bird. She treated this bird as if it was her child, and she also liked to sing to a bird; it meant a lot to a woman who was very lonely and unhappy in her marriage. The birdcage in the play is the symbol of Minnie’s restricted freedom.  By using this symbol, the author compares Minnie with a bird trapped in a “cage” of her marriage. 

Once the dead bird wrapped in silk was found in Mrs. Wright’s sewing basket. There is no direct indication of who did this to the bird, but it is quite obvious that only Mr. Wright could do this to a canary since he disliked its singing. His wife “was in the choir in her younger years and others enjoyed her voice”. With the death of her bird, Minnie felt like she had lost a part of herself and her voice. This was a turning point of the entire play. From this moment, Minnie’s transformation from a victim of a marriage into a free woman began. “She – come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself – real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and – fluttery. How – she – did – change”. It is obvious that marriage changed Mrs. Wright’s character, but she could not accept this change and at the end killed her husband in a pursuit of freedom.

Thus, a bird in the play “Trifles” symbolizes Mrs. Wright, her sweet and friendly character before the changes caused by unhappy marriage. The bird could be also a symbol of Minnie’s unborn children that she could devote all her love and caring to if she had them. When her husband killed a bird, he obviously killed a lot more than just his wife’s singing. Finally, Minnie realized that she was no longer willing to live in the birdcage and paid extremely high price for the desired freedom.

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