Susan Glaspell trifles Please Ensure Original Wor Formal Essay

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Susan Glaspell,(Trifles). Please ensure original wor

Formal Approach

There is a great deal of irony found in Susan Glaspell's work of literature entitled "Trifles." Irony, of course, is when words are used the exact opposite of their literal meaning. The concept of situation irony also exists within literature, in which characters act the exact opposite of the way that a certain situation calls for. An examination of Glaspell's work indicates that the author utilizes both these types of irony in conceiving the plot for her story in which a pair of wives -- untrained housewives -- are able to decipher the motive for a murder case in which law enforcement officials are not. This fact alone is an excellent example of situation irony, and the opposite of what a reader would expect from housewives and law enforcement officials involved in a murder case. A thorough deconstruction of the language of the text demonstrates that irony serves as the principle theme of this work which the very plot itself is based on.

After completing this work of literature, one of the most salient aspects of irony found within it is the title itself. The word trifles denotes frivolous, unimportant occupations or ways in which to spend one's time. However, by focusing on just such trifles regarding the murder case in which Minnie Wright has apparently killed her husband John, the untrained housewives (Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters) are able to find a highly convincing motive for the Minnie's act of murder. The irony of this fact is underscored by the reality that "Rural American women usually appear as marginal characters in mainstream early twentieth century literature" (Al-Khalili 132). As such, the preoccupations of Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Hale -- which include many concerns which seem unrelated to the murder -- are the exact opposite of trifles, and are highly important to the solving of this particular crime. The title is taken from the subsequent line of the Sherriff (Mrs. Peters' husband), who remarks that "women are used to worrying over trifles" (Glaspell). This statement is exceedingly ironic, since it is just Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale's worrying over "trifles," the pattern of Mrs. Wright's quilting, the condition of her dried fruit, which enables them to uncover her reason to want to kill her husband. Calling such concerns trifles then, and titling the play this word, is extremely ironic because they are the valuable concerns that eventually solve the case.

The plot of Glaspell's play, then, is effectively guided by situation irony in which the law enforcement officials, all of whom are male, are not able to find any evidence that suggests a motive for the murder of Mrs. Wright's husband, whereas the amateur women are able to. As such, the play has been characterized as "feminist" (Mustaza 489). One would expect the very opposite, that the experienced and well trained law enforcement professionals would be able to solve the case while the women would expect to contribute very little, since they have no formal training in te matter. The crux of the plot and the irony which moves it pertains to the fact that the men do not know where to look. And, even if they did know where to look, they do not know how to. The situation irony of this play is well evinced in the following quotation in which the Sherriff assumes that there is very little of value worth investigating downstairs because there is "Nothing here but kitchen things" (Glaspell). Ironically, those kitchen things and the things surrounding them are exactly what enable the women to formulate the evidence that Mrs. Wright likely murdered her husband because he killed the one thing brought her joy in the dreary environment of their home -- her singing bird. The results of the women's arranging things in the kitchen of Mrs. Wright, and the results of the law men investigating the scene of the crime, the bedroom, are the opposite of what a reader would expect to happen, and underscore the irony of this work.

Although the eventual finding of the bird is one of the key points of evidence that alludes to Mrs. Wright's murder, there are others that the women stumble upon by 'trifling' that indicate their law enforcement methods are far superior to those of the trained professionals. Those methods, however, are extremely indirect and are related to things which are…[continue]

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