Trifles Essay

968 WordsMay 14, 20134 Pages
Symbolism of the Bird in “Trifles” Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” is a play revolving around the murder of John Wright and his wife, Minnie Wright, who is a suspect in the crime. Hale finds Mr. Wright’s body and sees that he is asphyxiated due to strangulation. The relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Wright unfolds throughout the drama through the use of symbols. Mrs. Wright ultimately killed her husband due to him stripping her of her freedoms and happiness through the symbol of the bird. Mrs. Wright’s canary represents Minnie’s exuberance and lively personality which has been suppressed by her husband through emotional abuse as well as Minnie’s final loss of an independent life and motive to kill her husband. Mrs. Wright’s pet bird symbolically represents Minnie’s restricted happiness and faulty relationship with her husband as well as the lively personality that Minnie once expressed in her past life. Mrs. Hale states, “She-come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself-real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and-fluttery. How-she-did-change” (Glaspell 943). Mrs. Hale’s statement shows that Mrs. Wright once exemplified joyful personality traits such as a free-spirited canary, but changed into a timid, restrained wife. Mrs. Wright and her pet bird are both constrained to a superior force: Mr. Wright. Her canary is trapped in a cage and Mrs. Wright is stuck in a troubled marriage. Mrs. Hale notices the change in personality with Mrs. Wright and states, “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” (940). Minnie Foster was once an exuberant young lady filled with passion and life, but Mrs. Hale has seen a shift in personality from her previous life once she married John. The bird represents Mrs. Wright’s unmarried life and John did not like

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