The Symbols Of Isolation


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the symbols of isolation Trifles

Trifles, written by Susan Glaspell, is a real life murder case that uses symbolism to help solve a mystery. Glaspell's use of dialect, set on a midwestern farm, emphasizes the town's gender-separated society. Isolationism, a quilt, and incomplete house work are the three key symbols in the play the help the reader figure out who murdered Mrs. Wright's husband.
First of all, isolationism is an important clue in the murder case. Mrs. Wright's farmhouse is located in a hollow, down in the woods, which puts her in a secluded place. Mr. Hale, a friend, came to talk to Mr. Wright about a party telephone, but he said, "He put me off, saying folks talked too much anyway . . . " (59). This is an example of how Mr. Wright did not want himself and his wife to have contact with anyone in town. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find a birdcage without a bird inside, and the door hinge had been pulled apart. Later, they find the bird in Mrs. Wright's sewing box, and Mrs. Peters states that " Somebody - wrung - its - neck" (65). We can assume from this that her husband was tired of hearing the bird sing and he was the one to wring to bird's neck. But, to Mrs. Wright the bird was important to her. It was the only normality to the outside world she had, and Mr. Wright had taken that away from her.
A quilt that Mrs. Wright was working on is also an important symbol in the play. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find the quilt Mrs. Wright had been working on. Mrs. Hale says, referring to the sewing, "Why, it looks as if she didn't know what she was about" (63). Mrs. Wright was nervous when she was sewing the quilt and had knotted it. Knotting the quilt would symbolize knotting her husband's noose. It is evident that she is upset about the bird, and her mind was not on quilting, but plotting her husband's death.
Finally, incomplete housework is the third important use of symbolism. When the sheriff and the attorney arrive at the scene, they notice unwashed pans, bread outside the bread box and a dish towel on the table. The shefiff makes the comment, "Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies" (61)? Women the time of Trifles always kept up the house work, and it was unusual for things to be out of place. We can ssume that incomplete house work symbolizes trouble in Mrs. Wright's marriage and that her mind was on other things.
In conclusion, isolationism, a quilt, and incomplete house work are the three key symbols in the play that help the reader figure out who murdered Mrs. Wright's husband. It is obvious that Mrs. Wright murdered her husband, and the author's technique is symbolism which gives Mrs. Wright away. Mrs. Wright now is probably going to feel more free in jail than she would have been when her husband was alive. ... more

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The Danger in Trifles

Susan Glaspells Trifles is a play about a real life murder case that uses
symbolism to help bring it to a close.  It is easy to see that Mr. and Mrs. Wright live
in a society that is cut off from the outside world and also strongly separated by
gender.  Three of the key symbols in Glaspells play are a simple bird cage, a quilt,
and isolationism.  Anna Uong of Virginia Tech and Karen Shelton of JSRCC share
these same ideas on symbolism.  These three symbols are the main clues that help
the reader decide who killed Mr. Wright.  
The bird cage that was found is one of the most profound symbols in the
story.  Mrs. Hale describes Minnie as, kind of like a bird herself, real sweet and
pretty but kind of timid and fluttery(841).  The bird and Minnie are similar because
they are both caged in.   When Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find the broken birdcage,
they think nothing of it until they discover the bird.  He was found wrapped in a
cloth inside of a small box, with his neck wrung.  Mrs. Wright wrapped the dead
bird in a silk cloth and placed it inside a fancy box; this symbolises her cherishing of
her past life.(Uong, 1)  When John strangles the life out of Minnies bird,  he also
strangles the life out of Minnie.  The broken birdcage that was found represents
Minnies liberation from John.  Just like the bird, Minnie has now freed herself from
John by killing him.  
The second symbol that ties the story together is the quilt, which was
symbolic of Minnies life.  The quilt that Minnie was working on at the time of her
husbands death is almost perfect, except for the most recently sewn block.  It is said
to be All over the place as if she didnt know what she was about, states Mrs.
Hale(840).  This is another clue into how enraged and flustered Minnie was.
Minnies last straw was when John killed her bird.  When the bird died, so did
Minnies personality.  After that murder, Minnie was enraged, confused, and didnt
know what to do.  Mrs. Hale wondered if she was goin to quilt it or knot it(840).
By quilting the blanket, she would have chosen to endure the pain that John was
putting her through, but by knotting the quilt she chose to eliminate it.  Just as a knot
represents a finishing or a completion of a project, it also was an end to John.  The
weaving of the quilt also symbolises the building up of the marriage and then the end
of it.  The quilt started out as a beautiful piece of art and was brought to a close by a
couple of sloppy stitches and knots(Uong).  Just like the Wrights marriage, the
quilt was beautiful until the end where everything was simply a mess.
Isolationism also plays a very important role in the story.  The Wrights
farmhouse is located in a hallow, in the woods.  This sets her in a secluded place
away from most civilisation.  The Wrights didnt even have a phone in their house
to be able to call anyone.  Mr. Hale came to talk to Mr. Wright about a phone a few
times but, he put me off, saying folks talked too much anyway...(Glaspell, p.835).
This is an example of how Mr. Wright did not want him or his wife to have regular
contact with anyone in town, which is another part of John sheltering Minnie and not
letting her live her life.  This is why Minnies bird was so important to her.  It was
the only normality to the outside world she had, and Mr. Wright had taken that away
from her(Shelton).  When John finally killed the bird, he also killed a part of
Minnie.  
Symbolism plays a big role in Susan Glaspells Trifles.  Symbolism is what
helps the reader decipher who killed Mr. Wright.  Glaspell uses a dead bird with its
cage, a quilt, and isolationism to create a motive in the mind of the reader.  The bird
symbolised Minnie herself and how she was suppressed and literally murdered.  The
quilt symbolised Minnies life and her choices about her husband; and finally the
isolationism of Minnie gives her a good motive and reason to want to be free from
her husband.  Glaspells use of symbolism gets the reader involved in the play and
requires the reader to piece together this puzzle of a murder.  This ... more

the symbols of isolation

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