April 15, 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas

Notes on Susan Glaspell’s Trifles (1916) covid-19: day 34 | US: GA | info | exit


  1. What does Trifles say about men? About women? About the ways in which they act toward each other? In how many different ways does Glaspell touch on this theme? (Notice the speech patterns of the men and the women. How do they differ? What themes and concerns do you hear from each?)
  2. Discuss the use of “trifles” in the play.
  3. Discuss the characterization of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. How are they contrasted in the early part of the play? What happens to them during the course of the play?
  4. With which of the characters in this play do your sympathies lie? Why? To what extent do you approve of their actions?


  • Ben-Zvi, Linda. Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times. New York: Oxford UP.
  • — (1992). "'Murder She Wrote': The Genesis of Susan Glaspell's Trifles". Theatre Journal. 44: 141–62.
  • Hedges, Elaine (1986). "Small Things Reconsidered: 'A Jury of Her Peers'". Women's Studies. 12: 89–110.
  • Hinz-Bode, Kristina (2006). Susan Glaspell and the Anxiety of Expression: Language and Isolation in the Plays. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.
  • Makowsky, Veronica A. (1993). Susan Glaspell's Century of American Women: a Critical Interpretation of Her Work. New York: Oxford UP.
  • Malpede, Karen, ed. (1985). "Susan Glaspell". Women in Theatre. New York: Limelight. An introduction and an essay by Glaspell about Trifles.
  • Mustazza, Leonard (1989). "Generic Translation and Thematic Shift in Susan Glaspell's Trifles and 'A Jury of Her Peers'". Studies in Short Fiction. 26: 489–96.
  • Noe, Marcia (1983). Susan Glaspell: Voice of the Heartland. Macomb, Illinois: Western Illinois University.
  • Rajkowska, Bárbara Ozieblo (2000). Susan Glaspell: A Critical Biography. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Trudeau, Lawrence J., ed. (1999). "Susan Glaspell". Drama Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research International. This reference work has various excerpts and essays about Glaspell.
  • Waterman, Arthur E. (1966). Susan Glaspell. New York: Twayne Publishers.