Trifles by Susan Glaspell | Summary Questions and Answers Class 11 by Suraj Bhatt

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NEB ENGLISH ALL NOTES [C.ENG | M. ENG] CLASS 11


Trifles by Susan Glaspell | Summary Questions and Answers Class 11 by Suraj Bhatt
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Trifles by Susan Glaspell Class 11 Summary & Excercise Questions and Answers NEB Compulsory English

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

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GLOSSARY OF 👇

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

abashed (adj.): embarrassed or ashamed

canary (n.): a small, yellow bird that is well known for its singing, sometimes kept as 
a pet 

coroner (n.): the public employee responsible for investigating deaths that are not 
thought to be from natural causes

facetiously (adv.): in a manner not meant to be taken seriously

fidgety (adj.): restless or uneasy

homestead (v.): (as provided by the federal Homestead Act of 1862) live in an area of 
public land granted to any US citizen willing to settle on and farm the land for at least 
five years

pleat (v.): fold cloth

queer (adj.): strange; odd

quilt (v.): join together (layers of fabric) with lines of stitching to form a warm bed 
covering 

resentfully (adv.): angrily, unhappily

scoffingly (adv.): scornfully

sheriff (n.): (in the US) an elected officer in a county who is responsible for keeping 
the peace

tippet (n.): a shawl or scarf

trifles: something of little value, substance, or importance.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 👇

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

Name: Susan Glaspell 

Full Name: Susan Keating Glaspell

Nationality: American

Birth: 1st July, 1876

Birthplace: Davenport, Lowa, America 

Death: 28th July 1948, Provincetown,
Massachusetts America (Aged 72)

She was the founder of the first modern American theatre company called Provincetown Players.

She got Pulitzer Prize  for drama in the year 1931.

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ABOUT THE PLAY 👇

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

This suspense and mysterious one-act play "Trifles" has been written by an American playwright, novelist, journalist and actress Susan Glaspell. 


This play has been presented showing various aspects related to women's lives and their self-priorities.


The whole play is about an investigation related to the murder mystery of Mr. John Wright. For his murder, his wife Mrs. Minnie Wright has been accused and arrested. This play has shown this particular murder's investigation as well as different perspectives of Mrs. Wright's neighbours about her and different proofs related to this murder. 


Here in this play, the major topic of discussion is Mrs. Wright who is off the stage. The entire task of investigation moves on along with hypotheses, proofs and  Mrs. Wright's discussion.

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MAIN THEMES IN THE PLAY 👇 

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

This play has presented the various themes related to women's lives such as isolation, loss of identity, male domination, revenge and violence, feminism, freedom by rebellion etc.

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MAJOR CHARACTERS IN 👇

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

ON STAGE MAJOR CHARACTERS

▪︎County Attorney: Mr. George Henderson

▪︎Mr. Henery Peters

▪︎Lewis Hale:

▪︎Mrs. Peters

▪︎Mrs. Hale


Mr. George Henderson

Mr. George Henderson is the county attorney. He is mainly called to investigate the murder of Mr. John Wright. He serves as the attorney for the prosecution in the event of a trial. He seems young and professional in his manner. He often dismisses the women's interest in minor details of domesticity. He ridicules women's acts during his investigation and complains Mrs. Wright and her housekeeping abilities. 


Henry Peters

Henry Peter is a middle-aged local sheriff and husband of Mrs. Peters. He is present at John Wright's farmhouse to examine the scene of the crime. Like Henderson, he also gently teases the women about their interest in Mrs. Wright's quilt.


Lewis Hale

Lewis Hale is a neighbouring farmer of Mr. and Mrs. Wright. He is the person who had entered the Wright farmhouse to ask John about acquiring a telephone line. He got informed by Mrs. John Wright about the strangled condition of Mr. John Wright. He found Mrs. John Wright acting very bizarrely sitting on the rocking chair. He is the person who says, "Women are used to worrying about trifles."


Mrs. Peters

Mrs. Peter is a relative newcomer to the town who never knew Mrs. Wright before John Wright married her. She is "a slight, wiry woman" with a "thin, nervous face." She is married to the sheriff Mr. Henry Peters. She prefers to follow the law, often apologizing for the behaviour of the men because they are only doing her duty. She understands loneliness and the world of the female domestic.


Mrs. Hale

Mrs. Hale is the wife of the neighbouring farmer Lewis Hale. She is a quite bold woman who doesn't like men's domination. She feels quite angry when men ridicule women's activities and their domestic occupations. She knows about Mrs. Wright and remembers Mrs. Wright as the young Minnie Foster. She feels sorry for Mrs. Wright. She regrets not having come to visit Mrs. Wright for a long time.


OFF STAGE TWO MAJOR CHARACTERS:

▪︎ Mr. John Wright

▪︎ Mrs. John Wright [ Minnie Foster ]


Mr. John Wright

Mr. John Wright is a local farmer and husband of Mrs. Wright. He was considered a good, dutiful man, but he was also a hard man and neglected his wife's happiness. He paid little attention to his wife's desires and happiness. He prevented her from singing. The entire play centres on the motive for his murder.


Mrs. Wright

Mrs. Wright is the wife of a farmer Mr. John Wright. She was recognized as Minnie Foster before her marriage. She used to be a happy, lively girl who sang in the local choir, but after she married John Wright, her life became unhappy and forlorn. Although she does not appear in the play, she is the main suspect in her husband's murder. She sends Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale to collect a few minor items for her from the farmhouse.

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MAIN SUMMARY OF 👇

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

The play begins in the farmhouse of Mr. John Wright. In the beginning, we find all the characters entering into Mr. Wright's kitchen. Firstly, County Attorney Mr. George Henderson, Mr. Henry Peters and Mr. Lewis Hale enter the kitchen. All these men are followed by Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale. The condition of the kitchen is completely messy. When they reach there, they find everything shabby and abandoned. The dishes in the kitchen lay scattered, a loaf of bread is out of the bread box, a dishtowel on the table, unwashed pans under the sink etc. It seems as if it is a sign of incomplete work. 


All the male characters move near the fireplace whereas the women stand at the door. The County Attorney Mr. Henderson inspects the things in the kitchen confirming whether the things are touched or not.


He starts his investigation with a question to Mr. Hale about the previous day's events. Mr. Hale is a person who witnessed the dead body of Mr. Wright at first. Mr. Hale relates that he visited Mr. Wright's house to ask about getting a telephone line. He met Mrs. Wright sitting on a rocker (a chair) moving back and forth. She seemed quite strange and nervous while pleating her apron. She strangely behaved with Mr. Hale. She informed Mr. Hale about her husband's death upstairs with a rope around his neck. She said that someone strangled her husband when she was in her sound sleep. She added that she didn't hear anything from her husband during nighttime. After that, Mr. Hale informed about the death of Mr. John Wright to Mr. Henry Peters and brought him to the spot to see the dead body. He even went to bring the coroner, an official related to the investigation of suspicious deaths. When Mr. Hale talked about the telephone to Mrs. Wright, she laughed and even scared. 


The County Attorney Mr. George Henderson begins his investigation from the kitchen. He inspects some fruits preservatives broken glass jars in the cupboard's closets. The broken jars' glasses have made the cupboard so messy.


Both, Mr. Henderson and Mr. Peters criticize the trifles worries related to preservatives jars of Mrs. Wright who has been accused and arrested for her husband's murder. 


Mr. Henderson keeps on criticising Mrs. Wright's housekeeping skills and a dirty towel. But, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters support Mrs. Wright being women. Both women don't like Mr. Hale's dialogue. Mr. Hale says that women worry over the trifles. Both women come closer to each other after hearing his dialogue. The men move upstairs to search for evidence. Mr. Henderson allows both women to gather the belongings for Mrs. Wright. When Mrs. Hale arranges a pan in the kitchen, Mr. Henderson disturbs her. Mrs. Hale doesn't like Mr. Henderson's task of criticising women. Both women take clothes for Mrs. Wright from her closet. Later on, both women start talking about Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Hale relates about Mrs. Wright to Mrs. Peters. According to her, Mrs. Wright was a quite famous singer thirty years ago and known as Minnie Foster. She was so beautiful and cheerful then. She used to wear a pretty dress and sing quite beautifully. But, after her marriage, her happiness ended. Her husband was a quite strict person. He didn't allow her to join women's aid. After marriage, she mostly wore an apron with a shawl which was hung behind the door. Mrs. Hale considers Mrs. Wright as an innocent woman who worries about fruits preservatives jars. Both women don't think that Mrs. Wright murdered her husband.


According to Mrs. Peters, her husband doubts Mrs. Wright. He didn't believe Mrs. Wright's act of not waking up at night time during the murder. Mrs. Hale even mentions that her husband found a gun in the house. It is very suspicious to use a rope for murder instead of a gun. Mrs. Hale is worried about Mrs. Wright who is locked in the town's prison. 


A bit later, Mrs. Hale finds a large sewing basket with a quilt. When they examine the quilt, they find the stitches in the quilt aren't well-stitched. They infer about Mrs.Wright's nervousness while stitching the quilt.  When the men hear women's discussion related to quilt and knots, they laugh and ridicule the trifle tasks of women. The men go to the barn to search for the evidence.


Both women want to complete the unfinished quilt. While searching for paper and string, Mrs.Peters finds a birdcage in a cupboard. There isn't a bird and the door of the cage is broken. Mrs. Hale remembers a man who was selling singing birds canaries around the previous year. They infer Mr. Wright must have bought a canary from him. Mrs. Hale guesses that the cat might have caught the bird of the cage. But, Mrs. Peters informs Mrs. Hale that Mrs. Wright didn't have a cat. She says that her cat once went into Mrs. Wright's room and made her upset. Mrs. Hale worries about not visiting Mrs. Wright house these days. According to her, she never liked this lonesome and gloomy place which is quite hollow and too far from the road. Mrs. Hale adds that Mr.Wright was quite a hard man to live with. There were no children in the house. Mrs. Wright had to spend her time in loneliness while Mr. Wright was at his work. Mrs. Hale guesses that Mrs. Wright must have bought a canary for her company. Mrs. Hale says that she was like a bird, real sweet and pretty, singing beautifully in a choir before marriage. She wonders how did she change.


Later on, Mrs. Hale finds a pretty red box in the sewing basket while searching for scissors to fix the stitches made by Mrs. Wright. Both of them are quite surprised to find a dead canary wrapped in a silk cloth. They feel terrified to see the wrung neck of the bird. When they hear the sound of men coming back from the barn, they hide the red box among the quilt pieces. Mr. Henderson again ridicules the women asking about the blanket whether it was knotted or quilted. Mrs. Peters answers decisively saying that Mrs. Wright wanted to knot it. The men discuss finding no evidence in the barn.


Next, the men discuss about rope which was the house's rope and used for murdering Mr. Wright. They move upstairs again to make an analysis of the rope inch by inch.


Now, both women get a new insight into Mrs. Wright's situation. Mrs. Hale says that Mrs. Wright was trying to bury her lovely bird in a pretty red box. Mrs. Peters recalls an incident of her past days and becomes sad. According to her, she had a beautiful kitten when she was a girl. But, a boy killed her kitten brutally with a hatchet before her eyes. Quite interestingly, she says if she had been bold enough, she would have hurt the boy. Here, Mrs. Peters opinions reveal the concept of revenge. Both women try to connect the case of killing a bird to the murder of Mr. Wright. Mrs. Hale concludes that Mr. Wright was a strict man who didn't like his wife singing and even a singing bird-like canary. After many years of emptiness in the house, a bird started singing. She is sure that Mr. Wright must have killed the bird being furious.


Mrs. Peters relates her own experience of stillness (emptiness). She lost her first two years old baby in the past. After the death of the baby, she passed her tough time without her baby. But, she adds that the law has to punish the crime. Mrs. Hale also recalls Mrs. Wright while she was a signer. She feels guilty for not visiting and supporting Mrs. Wright in her needs during these days. 


Mrs. Hale becomes sympathetic towards Mrs. Wright and decides not to tell about broken jars of preservatives. Mrs. Peters wraps a fine jar of preservatives in a petticoat for Mrs. Wright. They don't want to make her sad. Mrs. Peters knows that the men would laugh at them being upset over the dead canary. 


The men come downstairs saying they need definite evidence for the culprit. Mr. Henderson doesn't seem satisfied. To proceed with the case further, he wishes to stay there for any other clue. Mrs. Peters asks Mr. Henderson to verify the belongings of Mrs. Wright which she has taken. Mr. Henderson verifies them randomly saying that she is also tied with the law being a sheriff's wife. The sheriff and coroner move to the other room's window to look for evidence. Mr. Hale also goes out.


Both women conceal the evidence related to Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Peters tries to hide the box in her bag but the box is too big. She tries to catch the canary but cannot touch it. Mrs. Hale snatches the box from Mrs. Peters and puts it into her big coat's pocket as she hears the door's sound in the other room.


This play ends up with the conversation between Mr. Henderson and Mrs. Hale. Mr. Henderson asks the ladies sarcastically about Mrs. Wright saying that she was not going to quilt it. But, Mrs. Hale defends Mrs. Wright saying that she was going to knot.

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SHORT SUMMARY OF 👇

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

This one-act play 'Trifles' has been written by an American playwright Susan Glaspell. This play is about a murder mystery of Mr. John Wright and its investigation. This play has presented various themes as male domination, isolation, loss of identity, revenge and violence, freedom by rebellion. This play had been initially staged on 8th August 1916 at Wharf Theatre.


There are seven characters here in this play. They are Mr. George Henderson: County Attorney, Mr. Peters: a Sheriff, Mr. Hale: a neighbouring farmer, Mrs. Peters: Mr. Peters' wife and Mrs. Hale: Mr. Hale's wife. 


All these characters are seen on the stage. The off-stage main characters are Mr. John Wright and Mrs. John Wright. Before the beginning of the play, Mr. John Wright has been murdered and Mrs. Wright has been suspected and arrested in charge of his murder. 


When the play starts, all these five characters are seen in Mr. John Wright's farmhouse. When they arrive in the kitchen, they find the messy condition of the kitchen. The things in the kitchen are shabby and abandoned. Mr. Hale reveals about the previous day's events. He tells his purpose of visiting Mr. Wright's house. He informs about the nervousness of Mrs. Wright on a chair, her information related to Mr. John Wright's death with a rope around his neck etc. He even informs Mr. Henderson about his further acts of calling Mr. Peters to inspect the dead body.


Mr. George Henderson begins his further investigation from the kitchen. He ridicules Mrs. Wright housekeeping skills to find the glass jars preservatives in the cupboard. Both women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters don't like men's mockery against women. They feel quite bad to hear Mr. Hale's dialogue. They support Mrs. Wright's housekeeping skills. They get permission from Mr. Henderson to gather clothes for Mrs. Wright. They start talking about various trifles related to Mrs. Wright while men are searching for proof in different places. Mrs. Hales relates to Mrs. Peters that Mrs. Wright was a quite popular singer thirty years back and known as Minnie Foster. Both women don't think that Mrs. Wright has murdered her husband. Mrs. Hale thinks Mrs. Wright as an innocent woman who worries for her jar preservatives. Both women come to know about Mrs. Wright's nervousness while inspecting her quilt. They think much about Mrs. Wright's intention behind using stitch or knot in the quilt. Men laugh again to hear their discussion related to trifles. Later on, Mrs.Peters finds a broken birdcage in the cupboard. They discuss the missing bird. They conclude that Mrs. Wright must have bought a singing bird from the bird seller. They find a beautiful red box and a dead canary bird inside it. They notice the wrung neck of the bird. They connect Mr. John Wright's murder to Canary's death. Both cases reveal the issue of necks. ( a rope around the neck | wrung neck ) They come to know why a rope has been used instead of a gun. Mrs. Peters' experience of childhood proves her aggression and the concept of revenge. Her kitten was killed by a boy with a hatchet in front of her eyes. She wanted to hurt the boy if she had enough courage. She also relates her tough time during her first baby's death. Her experiences reveal revenge and tough time during her baby's lack. Both women connect all these with Mrs. Wright's experiences. Finally, men come with no clues whereas women get full proof but remain silent. They hide the red box (clue) of Mrs. Wright.

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MRS. PETERS & MRS. HALE OVERALL ACTS

✩ The kitchen's left out tasks: half cleaned table, a loaf of bread out of bread box (Women guess: Nervousness of Mrs. Wright)

✰ Mrs. Wright's worries about glass preservatives jars show her fine housekeeping skills. The jars in the cupboard are broken due to cold.

✩ They find her nervousness in the quilt too. Stitches in the quilt are different. They ponder about Mrs. Wright's plan: What she was planning to do: quilt or knot.

✩ Both women find a birdcage with no bird and a broken gate. They talk about bird seller and buying canary. They talk about missing canary. Later on, they find a beautiful red box in which a dead canary is wrapped in a silk cloth.

☆ They find the wrung neck of a canary. They connect the case of Mr. Wright's murder with a rope around his neck. (Though there was a gun in the house) Revenge in a tit-for-tat manner.

✩ Women come to know that Mrs. Wright was going to bury her bird in a red box. [Love for her one and only companions]. Both women hide the box to complete the task for Mrs. Wright.

☆ They talk about singing Minnie foster's life trapped in a house after marriage. The singing canary was also kept in a cage [ A similar companion]. Canary shows the symbolic meaning of Mrs. Wright's life.

☆ Loss of identity for Mrs. Wright in House.

☆ They get the idea that for years and years, there was an emptiness in the house. After many years, the song of the canary was heard in the house. But, the song of the canary was muted just like Minnie's song.

☆ The feeling of revenge immersed within Mrs. Wright against the brutal murderer as Mrs. Peters. (Kitten case)

☆ The experience of a tough time faced by Mrs. Wright without her lovely companion. Similar to Mrs. Peters's tough time. (baby's loss)

✩ Finally, rebellion for freedom and peace. Killing Mr. Wright for her revenge, freedom and peace.

✩ Women's investigation over trifles reveals the real connection with the case of murder. Being women, they keep their investigation secret for the sake of Mrs. Wright.

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MR. PETERS AND MR. HALE

MALE DOMINATION

✩ For men, women's tasks, their discussions are of no use. The men in the play criticise women most of the time. They think of women's tasks as trifles. They laugh over women all the time.


☆ Men move on a surface level as. Mr. Hale's answer, an inspection of preservatives jars by Mr. Henderson and his complaint of poor housekeeping skills, their search in the barn, their analysis of rope inch by inch, their search of the window in other's room etc. They keep on laughing, criticising, and ridiculing the trifles of women. They criticise the poor housekeeping skills of Mrs. Wright and laugh at Mr. Wright's intentions of making a quilt or knot. Mr. Henderson means to say Mrs. Wright wasn't going to quit but murder. But, both women solve this murder mystery through their understanding related to women being women. These women not only solve the case but also save Mrs. Wright through their acts of hiding evidence related to the murder.

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NERVOUSNESS OF MRS. WRIGHT OBSERVED BY MRS. HALE THROUGH THINGS:

✩ A table is half-cleaned with a towel on it.

☆ A loaf of bread is out of the bread box.

✩ Unfinished quilt [one block of

quilt is quite different]

She wonders about her nervousness.

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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS OF 👇

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

BEFORE READING 

Answer these questions:

a. In what ways do societal norms affect you?

Answer:

Societal norms are the basis of living in society. Everyone is connected with societal norms. Without societal norms, no one can imagine living their lives in society. Societal norms affect me in the following ways:

▪ I have to follow all these norms. 

▪︎ These norms have taught me the ways of living.

▪︎Societal norms prevent me from doing bad deeds in society.

▪︎ Societal norms have provided me with knowledge related to my culture, tradition and rituals.


b. Are women dominated by men in your society?

Answer:

No, women aren't dominated by men in my society. Women are very well treated by men. I find the perfect concept of equality among men and women in my society. Women are given respect and preferences in my society. 


c. Are there differences between men and women in how they think, act, communicate, behave and relate to others?

Answer:

There are many differences between men and women in how they think, act, communicate, behave and relate to others. These differences are as follows:

▪︎Women think deeply about trifles whereas men don't.

▪︎They act a bit slower than the men.

▪They communicate being careful about bad words whereas men don't. 

▪︎ They behave and relate to others in a very polite way whereas men can be aggressive sometimes.

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UNDERSTANDING THE TEXT 

Answer the following questions:

a. Do you believe that Mrs. Wright killed her husband? Explain.

Answer:

Yes, I believe that Mrs. Wright killed her husband. I believe her as a murderer after reading the whole play. The deep investigation made by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters over the trifles of Mrs. Wright has disclosed all the clues which are against Mrs. Wright and proved her as a murderer.


b. Do you think Mr. Wright’s death would have been uncovered if Mr. Hale hadn’t stopped by the Wrights’ home?

Answer:

No, I don't think Mr. Wright's death would have been uncovered if Mr. Hale hadn't stopped by the Wright's home. If Mr. Hale hadn't stopped by the Wrights' home, nobody would ever know about Mr. Wright's death. The location of the house was quite far from the road. Nobody had visited this lonesome house for a long time. If Mr. Hale hadn't stopped there to ask for a telephone line, Mr. Wright's dead body would have been decayed in that gloomy house.


c. Why does Mrs. Hale think that Mrs. Wright’s worries about her preserves indicate her innocence?

Answer:

Mrs. Hale thinks that Mrs. Wright's worries about her preserves indicate her innocence because she doesn't think Mrs. Wright as a murderer who cares about every tiny thing related to her housekeeping skills. According to her the person who is too much careful about her preserves cannot dare to commit murder. Her carefulness towards her trifles related to housekeeping skills shows her innocence.


d. How does Mrs. Peters’ homesteading experience connect her to Mrs. Wright?

Answer:

Mrs. Peters' homesteading experience connects her to Mrs. Wright in the following manners: 

1. She lost her kitten while she was a girl. A boy killed it with a hatchet in front of her eyes. She became quite angry with the boy. A sense of revenge was seen within her against the boy. This experience connects her to Mrs. Wright's revenge against the killer of her canary.


2. She lost her first baby of two years old. She had spent her tough time without her lovable baby. This experience connects her to Mrs. Wright's tough time which she spent without her lovable canary.


e. How do the women’s perspectives on men differ?

Answer:

Here in this play, we find men's arrogance and dominance. They have shown their hierarchy over women. We find them showy and useless. They ridicule women most of the time. During the investigation, women's perspectives are ridiculed all the time by men. Women's acts and discussions aren't taken seriously by all men. Women's perspectives are taken as trifles by men.

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REFERENCE TO THE CONTEXT 

Read the extracts from the play given below and answer the questions that follow.

a. “MRS. PETERS:(glancing around). Seems funny to think of a bird here. But she must have had one, or why would she have a cage? I wonder what happened to it?MRS. HALE: I s’pose maybe the cat got it.”

i. Who does ‘she’ refer to?

Answer:

She refers to Mrs. Wright.


ii. What does the word ‘one’ stand for?

Answer:

The word 'one' stands for a bird.


iii. What is the full form of “s’pose”?

Answer:

The full form of "s'pose" is "suppose."


iv. What do you mean when Mrs. Hale says, “the cat got it”?

Answer:

When Mrs. Hale says, "the cat got it", I mean "the cat must have caught the bird."


b. “MRS. HALE: Wright was close. …… she used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir. 

But that— oh, that was thirty years ago.”

i. Why does Mrs. Hale refer to Mrs. Wright as “Minnie Foster”?

Answer:

Mrs. Hale refers to Mrs. Wright as "Minnie Foster" because Mrs. Wright was a very beautiful singer before her marriage. She was known as Minnie Foster who used to wear pretty clothes and sing in the choir.


ii. What does her description tell you about Mrs. Wright?

Answer:

Her description tells me that Mrs. Wright was a quite beautiful singer before her marriage. She was known as Minnie Foster who used to sing very beautifully and wear pretty clothes thirty years before. 


iii. What does Mrs. Hale mean by “that was thirty years ago”?

Answer:

By 'that thirty years ago' Mrs. Hale means the past time while Mrs. Wright was an unmarried and quite famous singer known as Minnie Foster. 


c. What is the main theme of the play?

Answer:

The main theme of the play is the status of women in contemporary American society and males' dominant nature over women. Apart from this, we find various themes within this play as isolation, loss of identity, revenge and violence, freedom by rebellion.


d. Discuss the symbolism used in the text.

Answer:

Symbolism is a literary device that refers to the representation of a concept through symbols or underlying meanings of objects or qualities. Here in this play, we find various things that symbolize varieties of hidden meanings. The symbolism used in the play are as follows: 


1. The preservative jars:

The preservative jars in the kitchen are broken due to the cold. These jars symbolize the cold and broken marriage relationship between Mrs. Wright and her husband. Due to their weak relationship, nothing is in a good state.


2. Singing Canary bird:

The singing Canary bird symbolizes the freedom of Mrs. Wright before her marriage. She was just like a canary bird known as Minnie Foster, a popular singer thirty years back.


3. The birdcage:

The birdcage here in this play symbolizes the trapped life of Mrs. Wright after her marriage. Her life remained within the boundaries of her house. Its broken state symbolizes the poor condition of the gloomy house.


4. Wrung neck of canary:

Here, the wrung neck of canary symbolizes the concept of revenge in a tit for tat manner. Mr. Wright has also been murdered with a rope around his neck instead of a gun.


5. Knot in a quilt:

Mrs. Hale's dialogue as the knot in a quit symbolizes the murder with a rope. The stitches in the particular quilt even symbolize the nervousness of Mrs. Wright.


e. Discuss the setting of the play. Does it have an impact on the theme of the play?

Answer:

This play has been set on the abandoned farmhouse of Mr. John Wright. It is a lonesome, gloomy and cold place down in the hollow where the road cannot be seen. Yes, it has an impact on the theme of the play. This setting has presented the lives of contemporary American women who used to live under the obligations of their husbands. They used to live within the boundaries of their houses in isolation and restriction. The setting of the house even suggests male dominance over women.

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REFERENCE BEYOND THE TEXT 

a. The credibility of a character is determined not only by the character’s thoughts and actions but also by what other characters say and think about him or her. Discuss in relation to the characters of Trifles.

Answer:

Here in this play, we all readers are directed towards off-stage main character Mrs. Wright through on stage characters like Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. Here, these two on-stage characters keep on discussing and informing us about various aspects of Mrs. Wright's life. Their discussion related to Mrs. Wright while investigating has provided us with various hidden aspects of Mrs. Wright's life. Through women's information, we are able to know about Mrs. Wright's life and sufferings. The readers get emotionally attached to find out about her life's story. Both women and their efforts in describing Mrs. Wright are incredible. Their efforts in the play have helped all the readers to feel good about Mrs. Wright. With the help of these two characters, Mrs. Wright has been presented positively in front of all the readers. Mrs. Wright has got the sympathy of all the readers.


b. Dramatic irony occurs when the reader or audience has information that is unknown to the characters in a play; it creates tension and suspense. Analyse the play discussing the author’s use of dramatic irony based on these questions:

▪︎What information is crucial to the play Trifles? 

Answer:

Dramatic irony is a literary device that has been created when the audience or reader comes to know the things at first that are hidden. Here in the play, the leading characters are unaware of the facts but the readers or audiences get the idea about the facts. Here, in this play, the crucial information related to dramatic irony is that Mrs. Wright has murdered her husband. Here, the readers come to know about the facts behind the murder through Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters but the men characters who seem quite busy in finding the clues are unaware of these facts. 


▪︎How does the playwright use this information to create dramatic irony? 

Answer:

To create dramatic irony, the playwright uses this information very tactfully creating various twists, suspense, readers' interest and revelation in a very interesting way. The playwright keeps on presenting information related to murder through predictions and proofs which the characters make and get during the time of investigation to find the actual murderer.


▪︎What effect does the dramatic irony have on the audience and on the play?

Answer:

Dramatic irony is very well managed and presented by the playwright. It has put the audience and readers above the leading male characters of the play.  It has managed all the readers' attention, anticipation, hope, fear, curiosity and suspense. Here, the readers have got the actual information before all male characters of the play. Dramatic irony has made this play very interesting and full of twists where facts are disclosed creating curiosity among the readers.

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Suraj bhatt

Hi...My name is Suraj Bhatt. I'm from far-western region of Nepal: Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur. I'm in Sindhupalchok District right now. I'm an English teacher at Kalika Secondary School of Tekanpur, Sindhupalchok.

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