Trifles

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Trifles Symbol Icon
The title of the play refers to the concerns of the women in the play, which the men consider to be only “trifles.” This includes such things as the canning jars of fruit that Minnie Wright is concerned about despite being held for murder, as well as the quilt and other items that Minnie asks to have brought to her at the jail. Trifles symbolize the importance of the topics and items that concern the women in the story, as these concerns provide the women with the insight to understand the motive of Minnie’s crime. The men, who arrogantly assume that women’s interests are “trifling” and unimportant, are blind to the importance of these items in the investigation of John Wright’s murder and to the importance of women’s concerns and situations in general.

Trifles Quotes in Trifles

The Trifles quotes below all refer to the symbol of Trifles. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Oppression of Women Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Baker's Plays edition of Trifles published in 1951.
Trifles Quotes

“Well, women are used to worrying over trifles.”

Related Characters: Lewis Hale (speaker), Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Hale, Minnie Wright
Related Symbols: Trifles, Canning Jars of Fruit
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

George Henderson, the county attorney, accompanies Mr. Hale and Mr. Peters, and their wives, to the home of a man who was recently killed. The murdered man's wife, Mrs. Wright, has been taken into custody, and the men search the home for any evidence. They find that Mrs. Wright's hard labor of canning fruit has been ruined, as the jars have frozen and exploded in the cold weather. The women's sympathy for Mrs. Wright's ruined project draws scorn from the men. Mr. Hale dismisses their concern by stating that women "are used to worrying over trifles." This statement reveals both the attitudes of the men toward women and the social position women hold in this play. 

First, the men all think of women, and the concerns of women, as inferior to men and the concerns of men ("trifles" as compared to presumably important issues). Second, the domain of women is the domestic sphere. Men fill the roles of investigators and intellects, while women are not expected to understand or help with the search for evidence against Mrs. Wright. Because the women have been delegated lesser roles and responsibilities, the men see "women's things" (anything related to the household) as trifles. This perspective ultimately causes these men to overlook the very evidence they need, because they immediately discount the importance of women's things and concerns. As a whole, the play shows the error in this thinking. Women's concerns, emotional abuse, and social oppression are at the heart of this story, and are not trivial at all.

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Trifles Symbol Timeline in Trifles

The timeline below shows where the symbol Trifles appears in Trifles. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Trifles
Social Oppression of Women Theme Icon
The Blindness of Men Theme Icon
...fruit when she’s held for murder. Mr. Hale says “women are used to worrying over trifles.” (full context)