This is one of many out-of-place objects in Minnie’s kitchen that cause George Henderson to accuse her of being a poor housekeeper. The disarray of Minnie’s kitchen demonstrates a distressed mind and that Minnie’s act of killing her husband was more emotional and dramatic than her demeanor indicates. In addition, the mess in the kitchen symbolizes the ways in which the men in this play expect women to fulfill certain gender roles. Minnie, not John, is held responsible for the state of the house and is seen as unfit for her role of wife, as a result. It is precisely this sort of judgment, and the fact that the men are so comfortable in judging women, that isolates Minnie in the first place.
The Dirty Towel Quotes in Trifles
The Trifles quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Dirty Towel. 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.).
“I’d hate to have men coming into my kitchen, snooping around and criticizing.” “Of course it’s no more than their duty.”
The Dirty Towel Symbol Timeline in Trifles
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Dirty Towel appears in Trifles. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...farmhouse. The kitchen is in disarray with unwashed dishes, a loaf of uncooked bread, and a dirty towel on the table. The county attorney George Henderson arrives at the house accompanied by the... (full context)