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Trifles Comprehension Questions

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Explain the significance of the title “Trifles.” What does “trifles” really mean? Who uses the term, or a similar one, to describe what? In what sense do trifles relate to the “evidence” the men are after?
Trifles is ostensibly dominated or controlled by the men in the play (even though, on a different level, the women are really calling the shots. Identify the gender assumptions of the male characters in the play and describe their “maleness.”
Trace in detail the relationship between the (three) women in the play, beginning with the opening stage description. What inferences can you make about the relationship between Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters? How do they relate to one another at the beginning, in the middle, and toward the end? How does Minnie Wright fit into all this?
The symbols in Trifles are particularly suggestive. What symbols can you identify in the play (such as the obvious bird for example)? What might they suggest about the events in the play and about the social expectations of women and men at the time? Why would Glaspell choose these symbols over others?
How does Glaspell establish the frontier setting in Trifles? Why does she set the play in the West rather than, say, metropolitan New York?
Describe the inner conflicts of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, and explain how they resolve these conflicts.
Are the women justified in their choice to hide the evidence? (Please take a side
Discuss Glaspell’s use of foreshadowing in Trifles.
How does Glaspell undermine the attitude of the men toward the women over the course of the play?
How does Henderson and Mrs. Hale’s clash over the meaning of Mrs. Wright’s dirty kitchen encapsulate their opposing views of the world?
Explain how Glaspell develops Minnie Wright’s character with objects in her household.
What does Minnie Wright’s absence contribute to the plot?

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