Monday, January 19, 2015

Trifles (1916)

Trifles. A Play in One Act. Susan Glaspell. 1916. 20 pages. [Source: Read online]

Who killed John Wright? Was it his wife? If it was, what was her motive? If it wasn't, how could she have possibly slept through her husband's murder? Wouldn't someone entering their bedroom and slipping a rope around his neck and killing have woken her up? It doesn't help that there was no signs of forced entry. Mrs. Wright is in custody when the play opens. A handful of people are at the crime scene: three men and two women. (County Attorney, Sheriff, Mrs. Peters (the sheriff's wife, Mr. Hale (who reported the murder), and Mrs. Hale. The men, of course, are looking for evidence and facts and something to make a story of. The women, on the other hand, are "merely" looking at "trifles." They've come to pick up a few things to take Mrs. Wright. She's asked for her apron, among other things. She's also most concerned about her preserves--with good reason.

At the start of the play, the focus is on the crime. Plenty of facts uncovered by Hale and the Sheriff and the County Attorney. But the women don't follow the men upstairs to the bedroom to the scene of the actual crime. They remain below, and that is where the focus remains. Let the men do the hard work of crime-solving, right?

Much is revealed in Trifles. There is a good reason why the short story adaptation was titled "Jury of Her Peers." 

The play is great--very interesting and quite memorable. I am not going to share the details in my review because this one is best read unspoiled.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


CharmedLassie said...

Read this for my undergrad and it's one that has definitely lingered. Always leaves me with a smile on my face.

Karen K. said...

I've read a couple of Glaspell's books that were published by Persephone and loved them both. I haven't read any of her plays but I'll look for this one. Thanks for linking up to the Back to the Classics Challenge!