Reaction to Trifles
Inspiration of Susan Glaspell’s Trifles comes from the memory of a murder trial in Iowa, which she covered as a newspaper reporter. My favorite literary element of the play, Trifles, was the plot and my least favorite was the characters.
The plot of Trifles dramatically draws the interest of the reader from the beginning. Glaspell quickly arouses interest as to why the characters are in a gloomy kitchen, “The kitchen in the now abandoned farmhouse of John Wright” (1410). The attention of the booklover is easily maintained as she reveals the characters are trying to solve a murder. As the play continues, the author is able to make the female characters and the reader empathize with the murderer, Minnie Wright.
Surprisingly enough, the literary element of Trifles that was below par to me was the characters. In the short story, the reader knew what Mrs. Hale was thinking opposed to only knowing what she said in the play depiction. Secondly, the reader had to hypothesize how the two women felt about the clues they find in this version. Lastly, the character details are not as full of life as in the narrative. Perhaps seeing Trifles performed on stage, may have changed my judgment of the characters.
Susan Glaspell does a great job of bringing the plot of Trifles to paper, but seems to be deficient in portraying the characters. In my opinion, the reader can relate to the short story version much easier than the play. Over time, Glaspell was obviously able to refine Trifles in this way, renaming it “A Jury of Her Peers.” Glaspell recalled that she “had meant to do it as a short story, but the stage took it for its own” (169).