For this assignment,
you will be reading and analyzing the Susan Glaspell play, Trifles. As
you read the play you will notice that its format is quite different from
that of a short story or novel. At first, reading the stage directions, characters
names and dialogue may feel awkward; but rest assured that, as you keep
reading you will find your rhythm and be able to follow the story with little
Please write an
essay of 1000 words or more discussing the questions below. As always,
begin your paper with an engaging introduction and clear thesis statement,
develop each point in the body of your paper using examples and quotes from
the play, and conclude your paper with a restatement of your thesis and
closing remarks. In addition, be sure to maintain your credibility by
including in-text citations and a reference list correctly formatted in APA
Setting: What is the setting
of the play, in terms of the time period, region and weather? Explain
the condition of the house. What emotional response does the setting
evoke in you?
Characters: Describe the main
characters: county attorney George Henderson, sheriff Henry Peters,
neighbor Lewis Hale, Mrs. Hale, and Mrs. Peters.What do you also
know about John and Minnie Wright? Who in this story do you feel is/are
the protagonist(s) and who is/are the antagonist(s)?
Plot: Summarize the plot of
the play in terms of its narrative arc (also known a pyramidal pattern):
exposition, rising action, conflict, climax, falling action and
resolution/dnouement. What makes the story suspenseful?
Stage Directions: Comment on
Glaspells stage directions. What information do they reveal that you
would have not been able to glean from the dialogue alone?
Symbolism: Elaborate on the
symbolic meaning of the birdcage, the dead canary, the noose and the
items referred to as trifles.
Themes: Remark on the main
messages of this play. What is the meaning of the title, Trifles?
In your opinion, what is Glaspell saying about gender differences and
marriage in this story?
Genre: Because this is a
play, most of the story is told in dialogue format. Articulate the
differences between reading a drama and reading a short story. Comment,
too, on the experience of reading a drama versus watching it performed
Final Thoughts: Trifles
is based on a true crime story that Susan Glaspell reported on as a
journalist from 1898-1901. Do some background research on the actual
events (one recommended website is http://www.midnightassassin.com/index.html)
and write about the increasing empathy Glaspell felt toward Margaret
Hossack, the alleged murderess, as Glaspell covered the case. Do you
empathize with Hossack and her fictional counterpart, Minnie Wright? Why
or why not? What overall impact has the play had on you?
*Have at least 8 in-text citations.
*APA format must be followed.