Trifles: Psychological Critical Perspective Erica Belton Psychoanalytical perspective is the exploring of the mind at a deeper thought process. A conscious and unconscious state of mind behind the actions and behavior of the characters. Psychoanalytical perspective is found throughout the play “Trifles” through conflicts, symbolism, point of view, and even gender roles. These elements help the reader better understand the actions of the characters. Susan Keating Glaspell (1882-1948) wrote the play “Trifles” during a time of controversial feminist issues.
Glaspell, cofounder of a theatrical company was also a member of radical feminist groups. It is said that Glaspell married her husband during a time where gender roles played a important role in society. This could be the influence behind many of Glaspell characters. Glaspell, Expressed her thoughts and feelings through the actions of her characters. For example, Glaspell idea to write “Trifles” came from a real murder trial that Glaspell was assigned to cover as a newspaper reporter. The play opens at the Wright farmhouse where Mr. Wright has been murdered in his sleep.
They entered the house, county attorney, the sheriff, and Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. The men and women have come to investigate the case against Minnie Foster, the wife dead of Mr. Wright. As the play opens gender roles play an important role within the characters as they look for clues. The men thought they were putting together a case but turned out to be overlooking all the important evidence. All the evidence the women noticed lead to them solving the murder case. In the kitchen the men did nothing but insult Minnie and her kitchen.
Making insulting comments such as “nothing her but kitchen things” and “Here’s a nice mess. Mocking the women over “trifles” by saying, “Women are used to worrying over trifles. ”(Glaspell, 2011) As the men leave to go upstairs Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters were left downstairs to gather items to take to Minnie. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters uncover important clues while they were alone. Mrs. Hale was good friends with Minnie and she started to recall to Mrs. Peters Minnie Foster was not the same old Minnie. The beautiful town girl she used to be.
A woman that loved to sing a vibrant woman Mrs. Hale says, ”But that- oh was thirty years ago. ”(Glaspell, 2011) While collect items Mrs. Peters finds a quilt Minnie was working on. The women observe the piecing of quilt. “Looks so nice and neat” Mrs. Hale replied. “And look at this! It’s all over the Place. ” (Glaspell, 2011) Mrs. Hale starts to take up for her friend Minnie. Mrs. Hale starts to cover up evidence against Minnie. Mrs. Hale pulls the knot to fix the sewing. “What do you suppose she was so nervous about? ”( Glaspell, 2011) The next clue was when Mrs.
Peters found a beat up bird cage in a cabinet. The door was broken of the hinge. The women wonder why Minnie would have a bird cage. Mrs. Hale recalls Minnie being something like a bird herself. The way she sang in the choir a happy cheerful woman. Mrs. Hale says “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, 2011) The women continue to talk when they ran across a pretty box containing the bird. The bird had been killed, the neck was broken. Mrs.
Peters says,” Somebody had wrung it’s neck. ” (Glaspell, 2011) This really worried Mrs. Hale speaking how she should have come around more often. How things were just unhappy and not cheerful every time she did come around. Minnie Foster was feed up with her life. Living a life of no fun and happiness would make any person go insane. Minnie was a woman that had died on the inside long ago. Her only image of herself as young Minnie Foster was through her bird. She was the canary trapped in the bird cage wanting to be free, and happy.
The symbolism between the way the bird died and the way Mr. Wright died showed the anger Minnie felt behind the death of her bird, and the death of herself. “No Wright wouldn’t like the bird a thang that sang. She used to sing, He killed that too. ”(Glaspell, 2011) References Glaspell, S. (2011). Trifles. In D. L. Pike and A. M. Acosta’s (Eds. ) Literature: A World of Writing Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays [Vital Source eBook] (p. 143). Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions. South University. (2010). Psychoanalytical Perspective and APA Basics. Retrieved from