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Play Analysis - Trifles by Susan Glaspell

            Symbolism plays a major part in the play "Trifles." From the very beginning of the play, symbolism is evident in the first line. Glaspell (1916) writes, "The kitchen in the now abandoned farmhouse of John Wright, a gloomy kitchen, and left without having been put in order-unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread outside the breadbox, a dish towel on the table- other signs of incomplete work" (1927). The author starts the play describing how empty and a mess the everyday lives of the Wrights were. Throughout the play, symbolism remains a constant that lets the reader examine who the characters really are.
             First, let's delve into the symbolism of the kitchen where much of the play takes place. When the county attorney went to wash his hands, he shouts, "Dirty Towels! Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies?"(Glaspell, 1930) The messiness of the kitchen leads the reader to believe a couple of things. One, Mrs. Wright was so distracted by arranging her husband's murder that she didn't have time to clean up in the kitchen, and two, the dirtiness was so symbolic of a messy life, to where not one paid attention to her to keep her own self neat and clean. Another symbolic moment in the kitchen was the bread that was besides the bread box. After reading that part, one would wonder why Mrs. Wright was so distracted that she never put the bread fully away. It was as if leaving the bread out symbolized her coming out and not feeling so trapped and put away.
             In addition to the kitchen, other symbolic moments in the play was the when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters were examining the quilt that Mrs. Wright was making. Glaspell (1919) confirms that there was more than just sewing going on in the line, "Here, this is the one she was working on, and look at the sewing! All the rest of it has been so nice and even. And look at this! It's all over the place!" (1932) By Mrs.

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