2. What clues lead the women to conclude that Minnie Wright killed her husband?
The clues are:-
- The ruined preserves fruits
- The left out load of bread
- The nervously sewn quilt
- Half clean/messy table
- The broken birdcage and the bird
The first four clues indicate that Mrs. Wright/Minnie Wright was feeling uneasy. Take note that these clues are sign of unfinished task/chores/activity which could indicate Minnie Wright was having a psychological problem in her life or marriage. The text suggested that Minnie became unhappy with her marriage. She was once portrayed as a cheerful lady.
"She [Minnie Wright]- come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself - real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and - fluttery. How - she - did - change."
The broken birdcage was a sign of force. The text suggested that the birdcage might be busted by John Wright. John Wright do not fancy things that sings and brought joy as indicated in the text hence explain his actions towards the birdcage and bird. The bird is the symbol of Minnie Wright's freedom and in a way her old self (joyful/have lovely singing voice). The death of her bird may indicates that a part of her was taken away and may be one of the causes of murder.
3. How do the men differ from the women? from each other?
The men in Trifles are portrayed as the antagonist of the story. The men characters looked down at the women. Make fun of the things the women have picked up, their poor homemaking skills and the things they talked about. They were to egoistic to take account of the women's discoveries as one of the possible evidences. The men overlooked the minor details or evidence that the women have found just by sitting in the kitchen where the men insist that there were nothing in the kitchen that would contribute to the investigation.
The women characters could relate emotionally towards Minnie Wright more than the men could. They see the little details or trifles as the title suggested as an important clue or hint. They could feel the sorrow Minnie Wright felt for example the feeling of "stillness" as experienced by Mrs. Peter where she has lost her child much like Minnie has lost her bird which is dear to both of these female characters. Ironically, the women might have been portrayed as the "real investigator" in this play.
There are actually not much of a difference in the men characters in Trifles apart from their age. The Sheriff is describe as a middle-age man. As for the County Attorney, a much younger man. Their attitude or behavior are relatively the same - sexist towards women. Same can be said with Mr. Hale where he stated, "Well, women are used to worrying about trifles.".
4. What do the men discover? Why do they conclude "Nothing here but kitchen things"?
Most of the discoveries found by the men are through the statements of Mr. Hale the neighbor of John Wright which does not help much or anything with the case. Apart from that, they did discovered that the the piece of clothes are "knot" instead of "quilt" which too discovered by the women. What the men have missed is that, the term "knot" stated by the ladies may have been a clue on how the murder was carried out.
The men are actually being sexist towards women when they concluded "Nothing here but kitchen things". It is a remark on women's ranking in the society as these "kitchen things" are usually associated with women (at least in this play). Much like the low ranking of the women in the men' s eyes, they "kitchen things" can be equalized to the women. This may also may be one of the reasons why the men overlooked the evidences that the women found in the kitchen.