The opening scene of the 1916 play, “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell is very carefully described and takes place in the disheveled and empty farmhouse of John Wright. The main characters in the play by Susan Glaspell,“Trifles” (full analysis of play here), the Sheriff, his wife, the County Attorney and a man named Hale and his wife all enter and gather near the fire that has been laid to keep the house warm overnight. As they settle in the Sheriff questions Mr. Hale about what happened the day before the action of the play, “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell.
To offer a summary of “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell means that it is necessary to pay attention to details since they are important to the plot of the play. Mr. Hale begins by telling the Sheriff that he planned on stopping by the Wright farmhouse to see if John was interested in going in on a party telephone, but he knew that if he asked him in front of his wife his chances were better. When he got there he knocked at the door and thought he heard someone say “come in” and entered and saw Mrs. Wright sitting in her rocker near the door look kind of “queer” and done up and as if “She didn’t know what to do next” while she was pleating her apron and rocking back and forth. She wasn’t polite or impolite and seemed indifferent about her guest. Mr. Hale asks to see John Wright, her husband and she laughts and says he is dead, pointing upstairs. When he asks her what he died of, she says, “a rope around his neck” and continued with her strange distant behavior.
At this point in the play by Susan Glaspell, “Trifles” Harry and Mr. Hale go upstairs and confirm that Mr. Wright was, indeed, dead. They came back downstairs and asked Mrs. Wright how the rope got around his neck and she claims she does not know, despite the fact that it happened while she was sleeping in bed next to him. She simply said she was a sound sleeper and moves to another chair and laughed when Mr. Hale brought up the idea of a telephone again, stopping short suddenly like she was afraid, or so Mr. Hale thought. At this point in Mr. Hale’s story, he makes reference to the other men who came after they were notified of Mr. Wright’s death.
The county attorney goes over to a shelf in a kitchen and announces there is a mess where her fruit had frozen, breaking the jars and says in one of the important quotes from “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, “well, can you beat the women! Held for murder and worryin’ about her preserves” to which Hale replies, “women are used to worrying over trifles” at which point the two women in the room move closer to one another as the county attorney goes around the kitchen, making comments that belittle the women in terms of how they are only concerned with tiny things that relate to their kitchen. The women do stand for her, not necessarily because they were good friends of Mrs. Wright but because they understand the nature of farm life. The county attorney continues about Mrs. Wright’s apparent lack of housekeeping skills.
As this summary suggests about the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, it becomes clear at this point that the women notice things that the men don’t, for all their criticisms. They see that Mrs. Wright had bread set, for instance, an important detail that marks what she was doing before the event. They remember when she Minnie Foster and see how sad her life was, presumably because her husband was an unpleasant man. The women wonder if she did it, but Mrs. Hale says no because she was worried about “trifles” such as her preserves and apron and they don’t seem to think that the ordinary things she was doing beforehand show any signs of anger or sudden extreme emotion. The two women are also bothered by the fact that it seems the men are “sneaking” around her house while she’s locked up in town and do not the way they criticize her housekeeping skills, especially since she didn’t have time to clean up.