Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters decide to bring the quilt to Minnie in jail, another one of the trifles that the men believe only concern women. The quilt and Minnie’s decision to finish it in one of two styles—quilting or knotting—is developed as a metaphor for her innocence or her guilt. The act of knotting a quilt is linked to the act of killing a man with a rope around his neck. The play ends with George Henderson asking the women how Minnie was going to finish the quilt. Mrs. Hale’s certainty that she was going to “knot it” symbolizes the women’s certainty that Minnie killed her husband. Meanwhile, the men, blinded by their arrogant inability to see the women’s interest as anything but trifles, don’t catch this significance at all and still think Mrs. Hale is talking about a quilt.
The Quilt Quotes in Trifles
The Trifles quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Quilt. 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.).
“Well, Henry, at least we found out that she was not going to quilt it. She was going to—what is it you call it, ladies?”
“We call it—knot it, Mr. Henderson.”
The Quilt Symbol Timeline in Trifles
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Quilt appears in Trifles. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.