The Play “Trifles”


For this fourth essay, select a question (see below for the list of options), and use quotes from the play Trifles to support a developed analysis. You can also use “A Jury of Her Peers” (the short story and/or the short film) to inform your analysis. Submissions without quotes will receive half credit, meaning the highest grade possible is a 50 out of 100 points. Like with any essay, use the opening paragraph to set up your topic and thesis (the significance of your analysis), and use the closing paragraph to bring your main points together one last time to reiterate your thesis.

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Tip: Use Microsoft Word, not Google Docs, to avoid formatting complications.

2- 3 double-spaced, named, and numbered pages
12-point, Times New Roman font
1-inch margins around each page
MLA formatted in-text citations and Works Cited entries

Essay Options

Select one of the following prompts. You can write exclusively about the play, or you can write about both, especially if comparing them would be more effective in supporting your analysis.

How do the men and women communicate with one another (or not)? What does this say about their relationships? If they can’t even understand or relate to one another, do they have the strongest or healthiest relationship? (Hint: Focus on dialogue to help discuss how does their (lack of) communication with one another affects the play.)


What type of point or argument is the playmaking about marriage? Based on what’s portrayed, what kind of conclusion can the audience make about these relationships? What causes tension in these relationships? What is the central struggle between men and women? Who seems to be causing it? Who seems to be trying to resolve it? Is this struggle resolved by the end of the play? Why, or why not?

What’s the symbolic significance of the setting/props/objects used in the play? How do they set the tone for the play? How do they enhance the readers’ understanding of the characters or the plot? What impact does the play’s setting have on the male/female relationships? Are locations or props used to represent a certain gender? If so, how are they used, and to what purpose?

Who appears to be in the right by the end of the play? Does one person seem to have more power than another, or do they just believe they do? How does this conclusion influence the play’s message? Why might the playwright have used an open-ended scene to conclude the play?
The play ends on a rather inconclusive note, as far as audience members are concerned. What might happen in the very next scene? How will the characters continue engaging with one another? What, if anything, can be resolved about the situation? Continue the play, and then explain your reasoning. (Note: The additional scene should be about a page long and should follow the same format as the play. The explanation should be at least one page long and should discuss the rationale behind the addition. For example, why is the extra scene a logical conclusion?)


Readings and Resources

Trifles, pp. 1395-1396 (Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature)
“A Jury of Her Peers,” p. 1400 (Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature)

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