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  1. 1. Susan Glaspell’s Trifles Teresa Yuh-yi Tan 談玉儀
  2. 2. Table of Contents <ul><li>The Writer Susan Glaspell </li></ul><ul><li>Plot Chart </li></ul><ul><li>Character-analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Setting </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphor/symbolism </li></ul>
  3. 3. Susan Glaspell (1882-1948) <ul><li>Born in Davenport, Iowa, in 1882 </li></ul><ul><li>Graduated from Drake University with a Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1899 </li></ul><ul><li>With her husband George Cram Cook, she founded the Provincetown Players </li></ul>
  4. 4. Susan Glaspell (1882-1948) <ul><li>Played an important role with the group as a writer, a director, and an actor </li></ul><ul><li>Trifle was her first play. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Susan Glaspell (1882-1948) <ul><li>Remembered a murder trial she had covered in her early days as a reporter </li></ul><ul><li>“ After a time, the stage became a kitchen —a kitchen there all by itself.”—by Glaspell </li></ul>
  6. 6. Susan Glaspell (1882-1948) <ul><li>Her best works deal with the theme of the &quot;new woman&quot; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A woman who represents the American pioneer spirit of independence and freedom </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Susan Glaspell (1882-1948) <ul><li>Was one of the first feminists in the theater </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote more than forty short stories, twenty plays, and ten novels </li></ul>
  8. 8. Minnie Wright <ul><li>A woman who was once young, pretty, and outgoing </li></ul><ul><li>In a loveless marriage with a stern, anti-social farmer </li></ul><ul><li>To the brink of insanity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Her isolation, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The gloom of her surroundings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Her husband's dispassion </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Minnie Wright <ul><li>Fending off her depression </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brightly colored quilting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A caged songbird </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A noose around her husband's neck, and strangled him in his sleep </li></ul><ul><li>Minnie— mini ; Wright— right </li></ul>
  10. 10. John Wright <ul><li>An egoist </li></ul><ul><li>The farm's owner </li></ul><ul><li>“ Like a raw wind that gets to the bone” </li></ul><ul><li>To be strangled to death while he slept </li></ul>
  11. 11. Lewis Hale <ul><li>A farmer and neighbor of the Wright family </li></ul><ul><li>A straightforward, rough, and honest man </li></ul><ul><li>The first to discover John's murder when he stopped by the Wright's farmhouse </li></ul><ul><li>To be slow to judgment and hesitant to suggest that Minnie may have been involved </li></ul>
  12. 12. Mrs. Hale <ul><li>The wife of Lewis </li></ul><ul><li>To the crime scene to gather items for the imprisoned Minnie </li></ul><ul><li>Frustrated with men ’ s patronizing attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding Minnie's isolation and alienation </li></ul><ul><li>A justifiable crime : a conspiracy to conceal evidence from a murder investigation </li></ul>
  13. 13. Mrs. Peters <ul><li>The wife of Henry Peters, sheriff </li></ul><ul><li>Slight wiry woman with a thin nervous face </li></ul><ul><li>A sympathetic feeling toward Minnie even she realizes that Minnie commits murder </li></ul>
  14. 14. Other Male Characters <ul><li>George Henderson, county attorney </li></ul><ul><li>Henry Peters, sheriff </li></ul>
  15. 15. Plot Chart 30-year marriage--murder A dead baby Minnie’s youth War Round Characters (Dynamic) Flat Characters (Static) Minnie Wright John Wright Mrs. Peters Mr. Henry Peters Sheriff Mrs. Hale Martha Mr. Lewis Hale, Neighboring Farmer George Henderson, County Attorney
  16. 16. One-act Play <ul><li>More tightly compressed </li></ul><ul><li>Typically short , with playing times of fifteen to forty-five minutes </li></ul><ul><li>The number of characters introduced must be limited </li></ul><ul><li>Their personalities must be developed </li></ul>
  17. 17. Setting <ul><li>A bleak, untidy kitchen in an abandoned rural farmhouse, quickly establishes the claustrophobic mood of the play. </li></ul><ul><li>While a cold winter wind blows outside, the characters file in one at a time to investigate a violent murder </li></ul>
  18. 18. Setting <ul><li>A farmhouse kitchen in the Midwest in 1916 </li></ul><ul><li>Kitchen </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A hand pump at the sink for water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A wood-burning stove for warmth and for cooking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Three doors : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One to the parlor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One to the upstairs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One to the outdoors </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Setting <ul><ul><li>In the middle of the room is a rustic dining table and chairs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The room has not been cleaned up and looks as if someone was interrupted in the midst of cooking a meal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dirty pans are stacked under the sink </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A loaf of bread is sitting outside the breadbox </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A dishtowel is sitting on the table </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Theme <ul><li>Trifles is a murder mystery </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power between the sexes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The nature of truth </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Gender Differences <ul><li>Men tend to be aggressive, rough, analytical and self-centered ; </li></ul><ul><li>In contrast, women are more circumspect , intuitive, and sensitive to the needs of others. </li></ul><ul><li>Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale find the clues needed to solve the crime, while their husbands miss the same clues. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Symbols <ul><li>Minnie’s Clothing—apron (pleating) </li></ul><ul><li>Canary —Minnie (the weak; the sensitive; the minority; the victim) </li></ul><ul><li>Quilting knot (rope)—trap, death </li></ul><ul><li>Other trivial things: bread set, a loaf of bread beside the bread set, nervous sewing patterns, a broken hinge, a box in the sewing basket, rope </li></ul><ul><li>Minnie’s absence—the invisible women </li></ul>
  23. 23. Symbols <ul><li>Symbols of entrapment, death, and destruction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a birdcage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a bird </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a rope </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Theater Production <ul><li>  Trifles , by Davenport IA playwright Susan Glaspel was presented in 1933. The director was Henry King Vidor Stanley. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Reference <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Trifles Study Guide </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2008 film </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pamela Gaye Walker - Trifles </li></ul></ul>