Symbols In Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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Stitching Conclusions
The physical world is filled with symbols. Symbols, physical objects that represent ideas, emotions, or philosophies, are universally recognizable and important, especially in the literary tradition. Authors use symbols to rationalize the world by connecting thoughts and people; they use symbols to explain and expose the reality of the world, society, and the human condition. Yet, in many ways, the significance of symbols transcends beyond their connections to themes. People not only assign meaning to objects, they assign humanity into objects, permanently interjecting a personal part of themselves into the world. In Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles, she eloquently uses many different symbols to communicate the individual
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Wright’s quilt is representative of the empathetic relationship that all three women share in the play. More broadly, the quilt communicates the universality of the hardships faced by women in the world and stands in direct contrast with the contradictory nature of the relationships between women, the homestead, and society. After discovering the unfinished quilt, Mrs. Hale decides to fix the quilt and testifies that she is just going to pull “out a stitch or two that’s not sewed very good…Bad sewing always made me fidgety” (183). Historically, the art of quilting is considered a feminine craft. As all three of the women, Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Hale know how to quilt, Mrs. Wright’s quilt highlights one general connection between the women. In the drama, all three women know how to quilt, giving them a broad connection with one another. However, for the women in the story, the quilt represents much more than the possession of a practical skill. For the women, the quilt is symbolic of themselves and of their heritage; the quilt is not simply an object, but an activity that takes time, effort, and practice daily. Fixing the quilt allows Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters to actively show empathy for Mrs. Wright and allows Mrs. Wright to have some sense of normalcy in her circumstances. In addition, the uneven stitching of the quilt was one of the only pieces of evidence could have marked Mrs. Wright as definitively guilty. Through the quilt, the women protect themselves as women, silently defending the legitimacy and significance of the daily events and activities in the life of a woman, despite the criticisms of their husbands and of their

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