Holmes always solves the crime, and that fact is very satisfying to the reader. Similarly, the two women are inadvertently unearthing the clues to the murder alongside the searching investigators. Glaspell endears us to the two women through the use of personal experiences and memories. Through their similarities, the two women also endear the reader to Minnie Wright. This closeness in character makes it perfectly acceptable when the women lie to the investigators about the bird and the cat, as well as when they stay quiet at the end of the narratives (Holstein 282).
As the story unfolds, the reader becomes keenly aware of the emotional abuse and frightening loneliness that Minnie Wright was facing. Because her character has been flushed out through the use of the tiny things in her life, the reader can solve the mystery of Minnie Wright. We not only know why she murdered her husband, but we understand it and, as much as can be expected, sympathize with her situation (Russell 88-90).
Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters lie to the investigating men because they understand and sympathize as well. They see the dead bird and know that its existence will not help Minnie's plight; instead, they know that the men would take the dead bird and the resulting murder as another example of women reacting to trifles (Russell 88). Ironically, the fact that the men do not value the opinions of women is the very reason that the truth and motive in the murder eludes them. Holstein points out that the unvalued status of women in the rural Midwestern society allows the women the ppwer to remain quiet (282).
By the end we have a clear picture of the "mystery" of Minnie Wright. We reach the motive through following the clues, though the actual team of investigators never makes it that far. They move methodically from room to room looking for large and obvious clues. They do not notice or attend to the tiny things, the trifles, that actually made up who Minnie Wright was. Their inability to recognize the value of trifles is also their inability to recognize who Minnie Wright was and what her motive could have been for murdering hr husband (Holstein 282).
The two women who are in Minnie's house and "sphere" humanize the unseen character by sharing her experiences. They create a human and tangible woman through the many trifles that they observe *Hedges 89). Glaspell's use of the word trifles in the text and in the title of her one act play should draw the reader's attention to the importance of the many small clues included. Like any reader of a mystery, such references draw attention to what is important. In the case of the identity and motives of Minnie Wright, the "trifles" come together to illuminate the answers to a complex mystery.
Like any murder mystery, the very small clues add up to allow for an overall picture to emerge. Perhaps recognizing the difficulty in following any mystery, Glaspell's story "A Jury of Her Peers" is longer and more detailed than the original play "Trifles" (Mustazza 489). As might be expected, the detail and extra wording is added almost exclusively to the identification and recognition of those tiny clues recognized by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters throughout the text. These trifles also almost completely fall into the feminine and home sphere, making them more recognizable to the other women who live in the same "world" as the accused Mrs. Wright.
In the same way that women like Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Peters, and Minnie Wright were overlooked and marginalized in their time and place, the answers to the investigators' questions of motive were also overlooked. The men failed to see the many small items that added up to the overall views. Because they dismissed the importance of "trifles," the investigators could not solve the mystery of who Minnie Wright was and why she would murder her husband.
Clausson, Nils. "The Case of the Purloined Genre: Breaking the Codes in Susan Glaspell's 'A Jury of Her Peers.' " Genre 34.1-2 (2001): 81-100.
Glaspell, Susan. A Jury of Her Peers. Annenberg Media, Cambridge, MT. 30 April 2007 http://www.learner.org/exhibits/literature/story/fulltext.html.