Perceiving Evidence In Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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In Susan Glaspell's play “Trifles,” there is a difference between the men and women’s way of perceiving evidence to Mr. Wright’s murder case. The men spend most of their time searching for solid evidence upstairs where Mr. Wright's murder takes place. However, the women spend most of their time in Mrs. Wright’s kitchen. Instead of seeking tangible evidence, they inspect the condition of the items and acknowledge how they have been muddled around. Different perspectives lead to a variety of discoveries such as the women’s way of perceiving evidence. In “Trifles,” the men and women have opposing perceptions on how they find and what they consider evidence. The men in the play view things more literal, while the women find a deeper meaning behind…show more content…
Wright’s belongings are incomplete and out of place, particularly in the kitchen. The women find this to be abnormal and begin speculating the significance of these items. During one point in the play, Mrs. Hale notices an uneven stitch in Mrs. Wright’s unfinished quilt. She asks Mrs. Peters, “’what do you suppose she was so nervous about?’” Because of the death of Mr. Wright, Mrs. Hale views the stitching in a suspicious manner. She sees it as vital information; something that could present them with Mrs. Wright’s state of mind around the time of her death. Mrs. Hale is currently mending the quilt when Mrs. Peters asks where she might “’find a piece of paper, and string.’” This leads Mrs. Peters to discover the empty birdcage inside of the cupboard. Instantly, they both start asking one another questions regarding the cage; they are unable to recall Mrs. Wright ever owning a bird. While talking back and forth, they notice that one of the door’s hinges is broken. They both conclude that someone was rough with the empty birdcage. Immediately afterward, Mrs. Hale comments on the men’s progress to find evidence, saying, “’I wish if they’re going to find any evidence they’d be about it’” (Glaspell 1416). Mrs. Hale’s remark is ironic because her current conversation about the birdcage’s door hinge is indirect evidence, yet she is growing impatient with the men’s attempts to discover any solid evidence. A little later on, Mrs. Hale relates the idea of a bird to Mrs. Wright by saying, “’she was kind of like a bird herself.’” She then suggests to Mrs. Peters that she should take the unfinished quilt home to “’take up her mind.’” This leads them to search for Mrs. Wright’s patches and sewing accessories. They discover a “pretty box” and assume it is where she keeps her scissors (Glaspell 1417). This is when they discover a dead canary wrapped up in a piece of silk; it was the missing bird. Right away they notice the bird's neck
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