The canning jars of fruit represent Minnie’s extreme concern over her role as wife and her household responsibilities. This concern is the product of the pressure society has placed on her as a woman and a wife, teaching her to fear the judgment of men if she does not adequately fulfill her expected role. This fear is clearly justified as the men rebuke her housekeeping abilities while also laughing at the other women’s concern over trifles. The women are judged for both too much concern and too little concern about housekeeping. Minnie is worried that the canning jars will break and her hard work will be ruined, and in their inspection of the house Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover that this has indeed happened. Their decision to lie to Minnie and say that the jars have not broken establishes the canning jars as a symbol of Minnie’s situation, her pain, and her nearly certain sentence. The canning jars are broken as Minnie feared, and this symbolizes the inevitability of her conviction. The women’s decision to lie to Minnie is also the first clear example of these women’s connection with another woman-in-need to the point of working against the concerns or preferences of their husbands. By the end of the play, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters actively attempt to protect Minnie by concealing the evidence against her. Their instinct to protect her against the men who have judged her is first shown in their agreement to lie to her about her canning jars.
Canning Jars of Fruit Quotes in Trifles
The Trifles quotes below all refer to the symbol of Canning Jars of Fruit. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Baker's Plays edition of Trifles published in 1951.).
Canning Jars of Fruit Symbol Timeline in Trifles
The timeline below shows where the symbol Canning Jars of Fruit appears in Trifles. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...as being only kitchen things. The county attorney discovers that the mess comes from Minnie’s canning jars of fruit , which have exploded. Mrs. Peters says that she knew Minnie was worried about this... (full context)