The story opens with Mrs. Wright imprisoned for strangling her husband. A group, the mostly composed of men, travel to the Wright house in the hopes that they find incriminating evidence against Mrs. Wright. Instead, the two women of the group discover evidence of Mr. Wright’s abuse of his wife. Through the women’s unique perspective, the reader glimpses the reality of the situation and realizes that, though it seemed unreasonable at the time, Mrs. Wright had carefully calculated her actions. When asked about the Wrights, one of the women, Mrs. Hale, replies “I don’t think a place would be a cheerful for John Wright’s being in it” (“A Jury of Her Peers” 7).
Within the text, there is a quilt that slowly grows in meaning as it is mentioned several times in discussion amongst the men and women. In discussion of the quilt, the men tease the women by asking what technique of quilting Minnie Wright was planning to use: regular quilting or knotting. Before the women could answer the men laughed and went outside the house to look in the barn for evidence. After a few minutes, the men return where the county attorney then asks, “Well ladies, have you decided whether she was going to quilt it or knot it?”
Wright is an example of a battered wife that experienced many levels of abuse” (Schanfield 1655). Schanfield outlines “physical and sexual abuse, but also emotional, economic, verbal and isolation as methods of control and domination” (Schanfield 1655). Mr. Wright completely dominated Mrs. Wright and uses isolation to make Minnie Foster inferior in their relationship and in society. In “A Jury of Her Peers” the women were caucusing over who Minnie Foster used to be and Mrs. Hale said she “remembers her as a lively girl with pretty clothes, wearing a ‘white dress with blue ribbons’” (qtd.
Wright it is easy to tell that she is not at all upset about her husband’s death. When being asked about the situation she “laughed and pleated her skirt” (4). Mrs. Wright is compared to a bird that is found later in the story. The bird was found in a pretty box with marks around its neck. Hale and Peters say that the death of her bird would have been her motive if she actually was her husband’s murderer, but the author utilizes the bird and its broken cage to be a comparison to Mrs. Wright’s life.
In addition, her choice of killing was to the neck with a rope as is similar to the way Mr. Wright killed her pet bird by wrecking its neck. Figuratively in this story, the bird is Mrs. Wright therefore, her killing the bird meant that she was close or already had killed Mrs. Wright’s true personality. The thought of this is what made Mrs. Wright rage vigorous from her cage as the thought of the constant oppression and the murder of her pet that influence her to reach for the rope. This scene is what drove Mrs. Wright to insanity as the constant nagging of abusive behavior and isolation is what made her leave her cage and remove the problem that was impeding her escape to
Hale can be described as a leader which is a quality that Mrs. Peters does not possess. After discovering the dead bird, the women both decide to not inform the men of their discovery. When the men come back downstairs, the discover the empty birdcage. The county attorney asks the women if “ the bird has flown” (1119). Mrs. Hale quickly replies with “we think the—cat got it” (1119).
The number one clue, the bird. One example of what the bird symbolizes would be Minnie’s, the wife of the murdered man’s, freedom. Birds have a choice to soar up into the sky and still have the freedom to return to earth again when they please. Minnie used to have freedom when she was able to make her own decisions about life before Mr. Wright was introduced. “...she used to sing real pretty herself” (Glaspell 185).
Wright and John Wright. In any crime scene there is a possibility of change through the effort of manmade and social construction, which is why description is very important in any scene. From the similar experiences of the women in the play, they know the truth but hide from the fear of the men who look down upon them. Glaspell cares about the way gender is constructed in the play as well as how the set has been gendered. The men believe that they grant female identity by virtue of the women’s relation to the men rather than through their inherent qualities as females.
Three women, Minnie Wright, Martha Hale, and Mrs. Peters express sisterhood by hiding of incriminating evidence such as the dead bird while the men fail to prove of her complicity. This essay focuses on themes of sisterhood and gender roles, and the passiveness that manifests in the process of gathering evidence. The theme of Sisterhood. As the plot unfolds to ascertain the murder of John Wright, Mrs. Hale says, “it looked very lonesome this cold morning, it had always been a lonesome place” (Glaspell, 1992), while referring to the house of Minnie Wright.
While Marion is eating in the parlor, we can see small birds placed next to her near the lamp. The bird can be translated to a powerless and weak figure that can be related to Marion since she is the weak and helpless character in this film being preyed upon by Norman. The idea of Marion being a powerless figure is supported in the next shot where we see bigger birds like an owl hanging from the ceiling. The owl can be translated to a powerful figure that can be related to Norman, who is the predator foreshadowing a misfortunate event is going to occur to Marion. The idea does an effective job of letting the viewers relate the bird to Marion by foreshadowing her death since Norman is placed in scenes with bigger birds like owls.
After complaining about the quality of the quilt, one of them decides to fix it and finds a bird with a neck wrung. Here are two quotes that will explain it in a minor way to those who haven't read the script. " ... she was kind of a bird herself-real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and-fluttery. How-she-did-change."
Trifles, something of little importance, is the opposite of what the women are distraught about. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find several items that were “women things”, such as an unfinished quilt and a bird in a box with its neck snapped. These items are key symbols, not only to the play, but to the motive of the murder. Mrs. Wright never revealed that her husband had done cruel things to her, but her husband was known to be harsh at times. Mrs. Hale brings up how Mrs. Wright lived before she married, “I heard she used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir.