According to the 1916 play Trifles by Susan Glaspell, a murder has taken place. This would be the murder of John Wright, apparently hung while sleeping next to his wife. The county attorney has said, “It’s all perfectly clear except a reason for doing it, something to show – a thing that would connect up with this strange way of doing it” (773).
What the sheriff and neighbor, Lewis Hale, are not aware of is that their wives have this answer. Their wives have found Mrs. Wright’s quilt, and would like to bring it and a sewing box to the jail for her to finish, as they were there for her belongings. After coming across a puzzling bird cage, they believe they have found her sewing box. As Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale open the box, they find a dead Canary, neck wrung. All of the sudden the pieces have fallen into place for the neighbor’s wife, Mrs. Hale; she said “No, Wright wouldn’t like the bird, a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that, too” (772).
The men are puzzled as to the cause and perpetrator, looking for evidence while the women are solving the case. Is the manner in which the men look at women the cause of their vapid search for nonexistent evidence? Or, is it the way women can relate to each other, even in lives that seem vastly different, that has helped them come to a conclusion only a woman can understand?
Lewis Hale, the neighboring farmer, had come to make an inquiry about a party line addition to John and Mrs. Wright. As he approached the home, everything seemed normal, until he knocked. He believed he heard someone say “Come in.” Hearing that, he opened the door. Upon walking in the first thing he noticed was Mrs. Wright’s strange behavior.
“She was rockin’ back and forth. She had her apron in her hand and was kind of – pleating it” (764), Hale remembered, while explaining what happened to the county attorney. As he tried to ask where John is, Mrs. Wright states that he is home, but he cannot be seen because he is dead. With this,...