Situational Awareness, a Lifesaver
“We cannot create observers by saying ‘observe,’ but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses” (Montessori). In the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, the preceding quote by Maria Montessori describes the theme of this play in its entirety. This play emphasizes the differences between men and women’s observations to the point of life or death. The play also takes place in the Midwest in the early 1900’s when men viewed women as ignorant. The play’s title shows how perception can lead to knowledge by observation.
The men in this play are looking for evidence to convict Mrs. Wright of murder. They believe she has murdered her husband, but lack the motive for murder. George Henderson states, “No, Peters, it’s all perfectly clear except a reason for doing it” (1374). The men’s perception of the situation shows their need to evaluate the area where Mr. Wright occupied, as opposed to the area where Mrs. Wright would mostly occupy. They fail to search her common areas thoroughly. Their education and belief lead them to think there are no significant items in the kitchen area.
The women, on the other hand, began looking through Mrs. Wright’s belongings to find some things to bring to her in prison. They find many things out of the ordinary. They find a quilt with sloppy stitching patterns and a bird cage with no signs of a bird. Their observations lead them to believe there was no bird until the women find the dead bird. This bird symbolized Mrs. Wright’s past, before she was married to Mr. Wright. It was her child; it was her persona. When Mr. Wright killed the bird, it stripped Minnie of everything she loved. Mrs. Hale states, “I wish you’d seen Minnie Foster when she wore a white dress . . . and sang” (1374).
The women also saw the situation through the items in the house. They felt the house was gloomy and dark; this symbolizes...