« Peer Review Practice - Responding to a Close Reading Response | Main | Creative Writing Assignment - A New Point-of-View for Old, Familiar Tales »

February 12, 2007

Trifling with the Little Things - Drawing Connections Between Literary Texts


Image Source: http://www.oceansbridge.com/paintings/artists/f/frieseke_frederick_carl/oil-big/the_birdcage_by_1910_XX_new_britain_museum_of_american_art.jpg

Students,

Please discuss today's assignment on Trifles and The Necklace below . . .

Stay warm and I’ll see you in class Wednesday,

Lee

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~ William Butler Yeats

----------
If you are interested in reading earlier English-Blog student discussions of Susan Glaspell's Trifles, please see the post HERE.

Posted by lhobbs at February 12, 2007 02:25 PM

Readers' Comments:

I was an S.A. on Monday, February 12, 2007
Thank you,
Lyndsay Krall

Posted by: Lyndsay Krall at February 12, 2007 07:41 PM

Lee Hobbs,

In GdM's short story “The Necklace” there is striking similarities relating to Susan Glaspell’s play “Trifles. Even though the genres of writing are different within the two, they share common forms of literally approaches that help exemplify the meaning and importance of the literary work. One approach that signifies importance is the use of symbolic meaning. Another similarity between the two is that readers are able to decipher gender roles by using the context of the literature.

One way writers exemplify important ideologies is the use of symbolic attachments towards objects or animals, which correlate to a character or their life. In GdM's short story, the necklace was a symbolic attribution of wealth and importance. This symbolized importance and a sense of pride and a life that Mathidle wanted to have herself. Similar to GdM's usage of symbolism, Glaspells uses a bird’s qualities to correlate comparisons with the main character Mrs. Wright. The story gives clear examples and exemplifies deeply how the bird relates to Mrs. Wright. For example, Mrs. Hale stated; “She-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.”(Glaspell 275). This line is important because it signifies how important the bird is in the story. In comparison to “The Necklace” you are able to decipher the meaning to the main charter. For example, a line from the story states; “Suddenly she found a superb diamond necklace in a black satin box, and her heart throbbed with desire for it (8). The desire of a life of wealth and a symbol of importance she wanted to have recognized as her own.

Another similarity between “The Necklace” and “Trifles” is the author’s ability to correlate the importance of gender roles in the story. For example, in the play “Trifles it is obvious that men were superior to men. At the beginning of the story the narrator is describing the scene of the play; and describes how the women follow behind the men as they enter John Wright’s kitchen. In comparison to the play “Trifles” the necklace also shows gender roles. For example, it seems that Mathidle is a house wife and stays home and does domestic chores while her husband works. This indicated that the story was written in a different century when it was uncommon for women to have a job outside of the home.

Works Cited

de Maupassant, Guy. “The Necklace.” 1884. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Richard Adams, ed. New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 2006.

Susan Glaspell “Trifles.” 1916. Rpt. in Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Richard Adams, ed. New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 2006.

Posted by: Sheryll Daugherty at February 13, 2007 01:55 PM

Shayne Schmidt

Instructor: Lee Hobbs

Engl 121.003 Humanities Literature

13 February 2007

Trifles vs. The Necklace

In the story trifles when the county attorney talk about how the ladies are not much of housekeepers. He goes on to say how the towels are dirty and Mrs. Hale replied that’s there a great amount of work to be done on a farm. Here is where the connection is made with the story The Necklace. The woman in The Necklace works hard daily and still lives in poverty. As for Mrs. Hale the same situation with her life on the farm.
The connection could be some sort of economic relation. The connection is that both women are living in hard working conditions. They seem to both work hard and really have nothing to show for it. The economic times when these books where written must connect to what most women did back then on a day to day bases.

Posted by: Shayne Schmidt at February 13, 2007 02:32 PM

Greg Crossland
Eng 121
MWF 11:45-12:45

Connections

In the story The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, I have found comparisons and similarities to the play Trifles, written by Susan Glaspell. These two literary works were written 32 years apart and do not have similar plots but yet there are definite similarities throughout each of them.

The story Trifles, is named that because of the simple worries of the women it the story. In a certain part of the text, Mr. Hale states, “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles. (271)” He is referring to how Mrs. Wright is worrying about her fruit preservatives freezing, instead of how she might be jailed for murder charges. In comparison, the main character in The Necklace Mathilde is sickened over her worries and dreams of wealth. “She suffered because of her grim apartment with its drab walls, thread bare furniture, ugly curtains. All such things, which most other women in her situation would not even have noticed, tortured her and filled her with despair. (5)”
Another Comparison brought to the reader’s attention is the foreshadowing of things to come. In The Necklace you can tell by how money and fine items are treasured by Mathilde something is not right. When she finally borrows the perfect diamond necklace from a wealthy friend her “heart throbbed with desire…her hands shook as she picked it up.(8)” It gave me a premonition about how something bad will happen to it, and in fact she later loses it during the party. Foreshadowing is used in Trifles also because of how Mrs. Wright quilted patches on to a blanket. She used a knot instead of an actual quilt. Mrs. Wright husband was murdered by a noose, which is a kind of knot. Both of these examples could also be thought of as ironic because the events which happened in both of the literary works.

Connection between theses stories are many in number, but these are a few of the ones I pulled out while reviewing the materials. Many stories and books will use devices such as irony and foreshadowing, and these two are no different.

Works Cited

De Maupassant, Guy. “The Necklace.” 1884. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts. New Jersey: Prentice Hall

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 1916. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts. New Jersey: Prentice Hall

--------------------

This comment is a "model" response worthy of commendation. Good job. Students, this is what I am looking for regarding an acceptable engagement with the text.

~Lee

Posted by: Greg Crossland at February 13, 2007 07:02 PM

Lauren E. Wozniak
Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 121 Humanities and Literature
12 February 2007

Drawing Connections between Literary Texts

“Trifles” by Susan Glaspe and Maupassant’s “The Necklace” have many similar themes weaved throughout their story lines. One main theme that both authors made apparent was the difference between men and women. Both sexes are distinguished by their roles in the household and society. Also, the women’s method of communication is completely different from the men’s, and in a sense the women were judged for how they presented themselves and talked. Another similarity between the two readings was presentation. It was obvious that in both “Trifles” and “The Necklace” the women pride themselves on not only how they look, but how their house looks, and what their material possessions look like.

In “Trifles” when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters first walk into the house where the crime was committed they notice that the house was out of place and in disarray. (Glaspe, pg. 271) Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters were ashamed of how unorganized and messy the house was, and were in a state of shock. Not because a murder had just taken place in the house, but because they could not possibly understand how a housewife could let her house look that way. In “The Necklace” the woman suffered, because of her cheap belongings and longed for luxurious, expensive things. (Maupassant, pg. 5) In a way these two examples showed that these three ladies were all concerned about how things looked and were presented.

Another good example is in “Trifles” Mrs. Hale told the County Attorney that she wanted her to bring her an apron and a shawl to jail. (Glaspe, pg. 273) Mrs. Peters said that her apron would make her feel more natural and put together. Again, with this example the audience is able to observe how much these women are worried about presentation and how they look. Just like in “The Necklace Mathilde wants a new dress to wear the ball, but knows she can not afford it, and will cost a lot of money. Once Mathilde receives the dress, she is still unsatisfied and longs for expensive jewelry to wear. (Muspassant, pg. 7) All these examples show that women are indeed distinguished by their roles in the household and society.
Although these two readings have completely different story lines they show a different variety of similarities. These similarities show that women are more concerned with the little things in life, while men look at the big picture. Women put more of an emphasis on detail, which in the reading “Trifles” helped them to solve the mystery.

Maupassant, Guy de. “The Necklace.” 2006. Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts, ed. 11. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 2006. Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts, ed. 11. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006

--------------------

*HONORABLE MENTION AWARD*

~Lee

Posted by: Lauren Wozniak at February 15, 2007 10:20 AM

As it seems to have been a common occurrence with our recent readings, some sort of prejudice has been added to the plot. The presence of sexism plays a major role in three of the literary text we have come across so far, “Trifles”, “Watership Down and “The Necklace”. Each of these stories has a sense of primitive way of thought by modern standards. In accordance with the time period of each respective story they show the sense of an alpha male facet. Within this essay I will also explore the foreshadowing done by Ms. Glaspell and Adams.

In the situation of sexism in the stories written by these three respectable authors is very apparent. Each story seems to have its own hints, which is most vividly seen in Trifles and The Necklace. They both show evidence that women are not taking very seriously, nor are they given the respect the rightfully deserve. The stage direction of Trifles shows the men chuckling and laughing at the women. (Roberts p.276) In the Necklace Maupassant shows how women have basically no rights and are mostly domesticated. At that time they had basically no freedom.

The foreshadowing used by the authors of Trifles and Watership down were critical parts of their respective plots. Throughout the entirety of Adams novel he continues to portray a sense of foreshadowing through the character Fiver. He is constantly feeling nervous and intuitive on what they should do next. The foreshadowing used by Glaspell was on going as well through the short story. She used the bird cage to be a sense of criminal mischief that was going on within the story. (Roberts p.274 Ln. 90-115)

Works Cited

Adams, Richard. Watership Down. 1972. New York; Scribner 2005.

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles” 1916. Rpt. In Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts, ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education 2006.


Posted by: Thomas Nolf at February 15, 2007 10:38 AM

The relation I will be using is between Maupassant’s “The Necklace" and Glaspell's play "Trifles". In both stories the women seem to only be concerned with the little things in life. The men know that there are more important things but let the women to do what they want.

In the story "The Necklace", Mathilde thinks she cannot live a poor life. She dreams of being wealthy and living a better life than she already does. She is concerned with material things. She thinks she needs to have them. "She had no decent dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but these; she beleived herself born only for these" (Roberts, 6). Her husband knows that this is not all that matters in life but gives her what she wants to make her happy.

In the play "Trifles" the women are cracking the case and they really don't even know it. They talk about what kind of man Mr. Wright was. They also discover that Mrs. Wright had a bird and that it was now dead (Roberts, 276). The men who are at the house investigating the crime, think what the women are doing is funny. They joke about their conversations and claim "Well, women are used to worrying over trifles".

Posted by: Erin Rock at February 15, 2007 11:21 AM

Reading Response # 1
Professor Hobbs English 121
Erin M Rock
February 16, 2007

Silver is a young rabbit who is serving his first month in the Owsla. He is easily recognized because of his fur. He is grey all over with little patches of white. He looks quite different from the other rabbits. He is rather large, strong, and to top it off he also adds experience to the group. Silver acts well under pressure and can make good decisions for the group. He is a good rabbit to have around when times get tough. When Bigwig decides that he wants to leave Owsla, he convinces Silver to join him and the other rabbits.
Right now we are involved in a war that seems like it will never cease. We, as Americans, sit in our homes, watch the news and hope that the brave soldiers over seas are doing their jobs and keeping safe at the same time. Silver reminds me of a soldier in a war. In particular, he reminds me of my good friend, Specialist Corey O’Connor.
Just like Silver, when Corey was asked to leave his home to make a better life for himself and his family by enlisting in the army, he didn’t think twice. Both Silver and Corey know what they want and how to get it. They have a level head and are there to fight and be quick on their feet when they are needed. When the journey gets hard they know their position in the team and know how to get everyone to work together in order to accomplish what they need. When the rabbits are resting in the barn and find themselves suddenly being attacked by rats, Silver and Buckthorn both stand up to fight off the rats. They are successful in doing this. (Adams, 122).
Corey chose to become a part of the infantry. His fellow soldiers can count on him to lead the way and keep everyone behind him safe. Corey is just like Silver in that they are both trusted. Their friends can depend on them to get the job done how it needs to be done. This is a very good quality to have for the rabbit’s journey and for war. In the book, when the rabbits need to go find some does, Hazel has a hard choice to make when deciding who will make the trip. He knows that he cannot go himself so he has to choose rabbits who are strong and can survive the long journey. He needs rabbits who will arrive in good shape to bring back the does. He finally decides on Silver, along with Buckthorn and Strawberry (Adams, 195).
When Corey’s platoon was moving from one army base in Iraq to another, Corey’s Commander chose him, along with a few others, to lead the way in the front Humvee. Corey’s Humvee was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Corey was hit by a piece of shrapnel in his neck and has been going through extensive surgeries for the past month.
Both Silver and Corey possess a good quality. They are very protective of their friends. When Fiver tells Bigwig that the warren they are at in chapter 17 is dangerous and that it is too good to be true, Bigwig gets mad that Fiver is just saying that so everyone will follow him and turns back to go to the warren. Bigwig gets caught in a wire that the farmer has set out to catch the rabbits. Bigwig is barely hanging on to life. Eventually the rabbits help Bigwig get out of the wire. When Silver and Hazel are walking away to leave, Strawberry comes up to them to ask if he can come along. Silver is very sharp with Hazel and says “We don’t care for creatures who deceive us” (Adams, 118). Finally, Hazel realizes that Strawberry doesn’t mean any harm and invites him along with them (Adams, 118).
Recently, Corey was presented the Purple Heart award in a very touching ceremony. Some of his friends and fellow soldiers talked about what a great person Corey is. One person told a story about a bitter cold, snowy night in Afghanistan last year. Corey’s commander asked him to spend a few hours of the night on the roof looking out for any suspicious activity. He did as he was asked and when his time was paid and the next person came to take his place, Corey stayed up there with him for the rest of the night just for extra protection in case anything may have happened.
The similarities among Silver and Specialist Corey O’Connor are very interesting. They are both strong courageous men willing to go to the limits to help out their team. They don’t necessarily need to take charge; instead they follow the commands of their leaders to their fullest ability. Corey is a very special person to me and he is a wonderful friend as is Silver to the other rabbits. They are both looked at with great respect. Corey and Silver both encompass great qualities which make them who they are.


Works Cited

Adams, Richard. Watership Down. 1972. New York: Scribner, 2005.

-----------------

Erin, thanks for posting this, but you didn't have to. The FINAL draft of reading response #1 will go in a different place on the English-Blog. Your final one will probably look a bit different from this one after it is peer-reviewed.

~Lee

Posted by: Erin Rock at February 15, 2007 02:54 PM

Dr. L. Hobbs
I decided to make the connection between the stories Trifles and The Necklace. In these two stories there are strong cases of irony with both of these female characters. Although, both of these stories these situations are very different in many ways, but in some situations these stories are alike. Both of these women went through life altering experiences.Another way these ladies are similar is because during major events both of these women were worried about little things.
In the story Trifles Mrs. Wright used to be really sweet, timid ,pretty and fluttery until being around her husband for many of years because he was a very mean men.A major event that took place in this story is that Mr. Wright was found died in their home.Instead of Mr. Wright being sad for her husband she was acting very perculiar she was worried about her fruit spoiling instead of grieving. In the Necklace Mathlide was a poor women who lived in a society where women were characterized by their looks and wealth. She was invited to a special fuction where alot of wealthy people would be attending so she wanted to fit in. She thought she had to have a necklace on to fit in. She barrowed a necklace from her friend she losted it and spend alot of time paying back for the necklace. The ironic thing in the necklace was Mathlide spent all this time paying for this necklace which was not worth it. In the story Trifles the ironic part was Mrs. Wright Behavior when her huband passes for a women who was once so happy and cheerful how could she not show any sympathy when her husband dies.In Both of these stories people influenced these ladies to act a certain way which was out of their character.

Posted by: melisa Parsons at February 15, 2007 03:18 PM

Professor Hobbs,

Susan Glaspell's play, Trifles, is a very interesting reading. In the play the women spend a lot of time and attention towards the little things that lead to their reasoning’s behind the murder. Throughout the story details are very important to the women compared to the men. And because of this the women at the end outsmart the men and figure out the real meaning behind the murder of Mr. Wright. They put together all the pieces and look at the big picture as a whole.

Another similar story that I can relate this play to would be from the novel, Watership Down. Watership Down has many interesting themes throughout the story that are similar to the Trifles. From reading this novel you have to pay attention to the small things to get the gist of everything. Throughout the story, Richard Adams gives his characters many humanistic traits. For example, on page 80 Cowslip laughs and laughter is very unusual and not common to Hazel. Many people wouldn’t take this “trifle” as a serious issue in the story, but it actually plays a big role in the novel. It is significant to the story because laughter is foreign to Hazel, and because of this Hazel realizes that Fiver has been right all along and that there is something strange with the friends they have just made.

Likewise, laughter can resemble the trifles that the women worry about. One example that seemed strange to the women was the piecing of the quilt. If you look at this trifle in great detail you can see why the women linked the quilt to the murder of Mr. Wright. In the play the women take close look at the quilt and they wonder if she was going to knot it or quilt it. The Sheriff over hears the conversation and says to the County Attorney in line 72 page 274, "They wonder if she was going to quilt it or just knot it!" Then in line 75 page 274 Mrs. Hale says resentfully, "I don't know as there's anything so strange, our takin' up or time with the little things while we're waiting for them to get the evidence." This point in the story the women are looking at the quilt as evidence, however the men think the women are talking nonsense. Then Mrs. Hale takes a closer look and notices that all the sewing was nice and neat until one point the sewing was all messy. She considers this a sign of nervousness, however Mrs. Peters disagrees and tries and defends Mrs. Wright by saying in line 85 “Oh-I don’t know. I don’t know as she was nervous. I sometimes sew awful queer when I’m just tired.” And if you take an even closer look at the quilt you can see that the knotting of the quilt is the same kind of knot around Mr. Wrights neck.

This example from Trifles shows how the men over looked the small details. The men were too busy trying to find out who killed Mr. Wright, that they overlooked the two similar knots from the quilt and the rope. This similar event is just like laughter in Watership Down, because Hazel, like Mrs. Hale, paid close attention to the little things. Because of this “trifle” Hazel realized that they were in danger and Mrs. Hales realized that the quilt was evidence to the murder of Mr. Wright.

Works Cited

Adams, Richard. Watership Down.1972. New York; Scribner, 2005.

Roberts, V. Edgar.Writing About Literature. 2006; Pearson, 2005.

Sincerely,

April H.


--------------------

*HONORABLE MENTION AWARD*

~Lee

Posted by: April Hunsberger at February 15, 2007 03:59 PM

Rebecca Shenkle
2/15/07

“Trifles” Reflection

I can see many similarities between Glaspell’s “Trifles” and Maupassant’s “The Necklace”. The main similarity I found was the issue of gender in these two stories. It seems as if the writers were trying to stereotype these women into these roles that may have existed back when the stories were taking place. For example, In Maupassant’s “The Necklace”, he tried to make it seem like Mathilde was a woman who lusted after finer things and wanted to be wealthy more than anything else (pg. 5). This is a stereotype that women are trying to overcome. A gender role issue I found in Glaspell’s “Trifles” was that the women were not that important in the murder investigation. For some reason the women had to whisper about what any evidence they may have found regarding the murder (pg. 272).
Another connection I made between these two stories was the irony that was used in them. In Maupassant’s “The Necklace”, I thought it was kind of ironic that all along Mathilde was wishing for a life of wealth and finer things, and thinking that those were the only things that could make her happy. The ironic part is that when she had lost the wealth she gained for a short period of time, and had to work hard to gain money to replace the necklace, that was when she was the happiest (pgs. 5-12). Similar to the irony in “The Necklace”, is the irony in “Trifles” with the bird that had its neck wrung. This is ironic because the husband in “Trifles” was hung, which is similar to the bird getting its neck wrung (pg. 276).

Works Cited

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 1916. Story in Writing about Literature by Edgar Roberts, ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.
Maupassant, Guy. “The Necklace.” 1884. Story in Writing about Literature by Edgar Roberts, ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Posted by: Rebecca Shenkle at February 15, 2007 04:12 PM

Jenny Troutman
ENGL 121.003 Humanities Literature
Homework Assignment
2/16/07


Mr. Wright “the bird” in Trifles vs. the devil in Young Goodman Brown

By examine both story and play, I do find similarities from the way Mr. Wright was played in Trifles and the way the devil in Young Goodman Brown. “I stayed away because it weren’t cheerful- and that’s why I ought to have come. I – I’ve never liked this place. Maybe because it’s down in a hollow and you don’t see the road. I dunno what it’s a lonesome place and always was. I wish I had come over to see Minnie Foster sometimes. I can see now - ,” (WAL – p.275). With the words italic, those are the key words that Mr. Wright wasn’t a cheerful person and Mrs. Wright “Minnie Foster” was always lonely and she had no one to talk to. As in Young Goodman Brown, the devil was making hell a lonesome place and he was never cheerful. He would always try to get more and more people on his side of the afterlife just like he was doing with Young Goodman Brown.

“There was a scream, drowned immediately in a louder murmur of voices fading into far- off laughter, as the dark cloud swept away, leaving the clear and silent sky about Goodman Brown,” (WAL – p.227). With statement, it seems really creepy to me because the devil seems to be enjoying harassing Young Goodman Brown. He tortures random people so he can have the joy of it and try to get them to turn against the goodness in the world. As the story goes on, Young Goodman Brown believes that he has lost his Faith. As meaning towards to Faith, is he losing his Faith from God or is he really losing Faith, his wife? It occurs to me that the devil always tries to take our Faith away because if we stop believing in the Lord, then we directly listen to what the devil proceeds on doing to us.

With these two stories, it seems like Mr. Wright in Trifles is a bad person and his wife, Minnie, seems to be so lonely because her husband leaves her all the time. It hurts her so bad but she is afraid to leave her husband. As well, as the devil in Young Goodman Brown, he seems to be enjoying getting good people and turn them into little devils as himself. There are some people have followed in the wrong path, but I do believe that everyone has a second chance. In Young Goodman Brown, it seems like he was given another chance to live and Goodman Brown choose to be in the right place instead of the bad path.


Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 1916. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts, 11 Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2006.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” 1835. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts, 11 Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2006.

--------------------

*HONORABLE MENTION AWARD*

~Lee

Posted by: Jenny Troutman at February 15, 2007 05:29 PM

Dr. Lee Hobbs,

Connections between Trifles and Young Goodman Brown

Since we began English 121, in the beginning of the spring semester we have read several works of literature. Today I chose to focus primarily on the short story of “Young Goodman Brown,” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and the play “Trifles,” written by Susan Glaspell. The assignment asked us to find connections between the two. The first major connection that I found between the two is that women seemed to have less importance than the men do. The other would be they both used symbols to represent certain things.

In the play “Trifles,” the women were kind of just looked over, even though they were apart of the play, it was like their opinions or statements did not mean as much as the men’s points in the play. For example in “trifles,” the Court Attorney states, “What would we do without the ladies,”…then proceeds on to say “not much of a housekeeper, would you say ladies,” directing that towards the men not being good housekeepers, so it seems as though they only need the women to keep the house in order and make sure dinner is made, etc (Roberts pg 271). Also when the attorney is getting the story, Mrs. Hale side is kind of looked over and the attorney pays more attention to Mr. Hales side of the story, and I come to believe that he hears Mr. Hales side out more, just because he is a male as to Mrs. Hale being a female. This connects with Young Goodman Brown, because this story also kind of discriminates towards the women as well. In this particular story, Young Goodman Brown goes on a journey through the woods but his wife does not want him to go, but he goes anyway. So this is a connection, because he just looks over his wife’s thoughts a goes on his way.

The other connections that I found between these two stories, is that they both use symbols. For example in Young Goodman brown, I believe the pink ribbon in his wives hair stands for the faith in which they have, and her names stands for the greatness that she with holds within her and the devils represent witches. Then in “Trifles,” there isn’t as much symbolism, but trifles are represented to be something of little matter, or something that does not have that much significance or importance (Morehead). Young Goodman Brown and Trifles do indeed have connections between the two.

Works Cited

Morehead, Phillip. “The New American Webster Handy College
Dictionary.” 3rd Edition. Albert and Loy Morehead Ed. 1995. New York.

Roberts V. Edgar. Writing about Literature Brief 11th edition.
2006. Saddle River, New Jersey.

Until our Next Class,

B. Decker


--------------------

*HONORABLE MENTION AWARD*

~Lee

Posted by: Brooke Decker at February 15, 2007 05:41 PM

Stephanie Vrabel
Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 121.003 Humanities Literature
14 February 2007

The story, “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, is about a murder case where the character Mrs. Wright is being tried for killing her husband Mr. John Wright. During this tale Mrs. Peters, the sheriffs wife, was asked by Mrs. Wright to bring some of her belongings to the jail where she is kept. While completing her task, with the help of Mrs. Wrights neighbor Mrs. Hale, the ladies come across some quilt squares that were apparently In the process of being sewn together. The women were intrigued enough to question whether Mrs. Wright was quilting the pieces or knotting them. At this same time the sheriff overhears their conversation and provides his thoughts, “‘They wonder if she was going to quilt it or just knot it!’(The men laugh; The women look abashed.)” (Glaspell, p 274). The irony in this comment is that the women may have figured out the murder case from caring about the simple little things. Did she quilt the fabric, or knot it?

Mathilde Loisel, from “The Necklace” and wife of a clerk, is never happy with what she has. When her husband brings an invitation home for dinner with the Ministry of Education, all Mathilde can think about is how she does not have anything to wear. With a little bit of persuasion, Mr. Loisel provides Mathilde with enough money to buy a nice, new dress. After Mathilde returns home from shopping, she realizes that she does not have a good enough accessory for her outfit, and would prefer to not go to the dinner because of this. “God, but you’re silly! Go to your friend Mrs. Forrestier, and as her to lend you some jewelry.” (Maupassant, 7). Mr. Loisel obviously views Mathildes need for something to match her dress as a silly matter. Mathilde ends up losing the diamond necklace that she borrowed. Little did they both know that this simple little item would cost them the next ten years of their lives.

Both of these stories show how the men may think that women are silly for caring only for the simple little things in life. Though this may be true, it is illustrated through both tales that the minute things in life may carry the clue to a mystery, or may cause long devastating effects on someone’s future. The little facts that the ladies in “Trifles” found, may have been enough evidence to convict the suspect, yet the men laughed at the women for caring. The simple item that Mathilde lost in “The Necklace” ended up costing the Loisels to pay back loans on a replacement for the next ten years of their lives. The little things do have a great impact on a persons every day life.

Works Cited

Glaspell, Susan. "Trifles." 1916. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts,
11th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Maupassant, Guy de. “The Necklace.” 1884. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar
V. Roberts, 11th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

--------------------

*HONORABLE MENTION AWARD*

~Lee

Posted by: Stephanie Vrabel at February 15, 2007 07:32 PM

2.14.07

Professor Hobbs,

“The Necklace” by Guy De Maupassant and “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell are two pieces of literature that share similar themes. One of the most similar aspects of both stories is the degradation of women. Looking at these stories through the feminist critical approach, I found that in both stories the women had significant roles, but they are made to seem less successful and less important then the male characters.

In “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, the male characters are introduced in the beginning with their professions. George Henderson, Henry Peters, and Lewis Hale were described as a county attorney, sheriff, and a neighboring farmer, respectively. The female characters are simply named as Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale (Glaspell 269). Not only are their professions not listed, but their first names are not mentioned, only their married names. It may be that the women did not have jobs during this time period, but the reader does not know that because the author never discusses the women in great detail. The men also make fun of the women as they rummage through the house laughing at whether Mrs. Wright quilted or knotted, and Hale states, “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles” when he finds that Mrs. Wright was worried about her fruit (Glaspell 271).

I think the women were made to look less intelligent than the male characters, but in actuality they found a lot of evidence that the males didn’t. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters were the first to find the empty bird cage, the dead canary, and the first to ponder on whether Mrs. Wright quilted or knotted. These are all so called “trifles” but they are all pieces of evidence to the crime, but the men take their ideas as nonsense because they think women always concentrate on silly things.

In the “Necklace” I found similar themes towards women. In the first few pages of the story, the author doesn’t even mention the female character’s name, but they discuss her personality in great detail. Guy De Maupassant describes Mathilde Loisel as an unhappy, poor, and jealous person, and her husband as a working-class man who tries to make his wife happy (5). The female’s personality traits are much more negative than the male character’s traits. As in “Trifles”, the male character’s profession is discussed promptly in the beginning of the story.

Both “The Necklace” and “Trifles” are two stories that show how in the time period of 1884 and 1916, men were seen as superior to women. In both stories, I found that even though the women were important characters in the story, the authors still made their personalities seem weak and less intelligent than the male characters.

Works Cited

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 1916. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts, 11th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Maupassant, Guy de. “The Necklace.” 1884. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts, 11th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Sincerely,

Jen N.
English 121.003 MWF 11:45-12:45

--------------------

This comment is a "model" response worthy of commendation. Good job. Students, this is what I am looking for regarding an acceptable engagement with the text.

~Lee

Posted by: Jen Naugle at February 15, 2007 07:41 PM

Lorin Gdula
Comparison between “Trifles” and “The Necklace”

In Trifles and The Necklace, social classes are exposed and how they can influence people’s lives. In the Necklace, class and caste were the topic whether it was social or economic class. Mathilde was judged based on her class and she was looked at differently. Even though she couldn’t change her caste, back then it was not right to have a class higher than a man. For a women to be more successful than a man was just not accepted. Mathilde and her husband were looked down upon because of there social status as in Trifles were the women were also judges and not taken seriously.

In Trifles, when the women go along to help look at the house they sit and actually figure out the case. But, back then you never saw women as attorneys or sheriffs. The men thought that women couldn’t do that I guess. For example, in Trifles, when the men come downstairs and the women are looking at the quilt the sheriff laughs and says, “They wonder if she was going to quilt it or just knot it!”(par 70) They laugh because they think that the women are just talking about things women always talk about and that the men are always the ones that do all the work. But, really the women are the ones that already have the case figured out.

So in both short stories, women are looked down upon and judged by their caste. That is just how society was back then though.

Works Cited
Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 1916.Writting About Literature by Pearson Education, Inc. New Jersey, 2006
De Maupassant, Guy. “The Necklace.” 1884. Writing About Literature by Pearson Education, Inc. New Jersey, 2006


Posted by: Lorin Gdula at February 15, 2007 07:55 PM

Kristin Dudra
ENGL 121.003
Lee Hobbs
16 February 2007
Trifles and Watership Down
I’m going to talk about some similarities between the book Watership Down and the play Trifles. There was one view of looking at both stories that really stood out for me. In Trifles, the women are not important. They are just there to take care of their husband and children and keep the house “red-up” (Glaspell 273). This is pretty much how it is in Watership Down also. The does dig the holes and take care of the young.
The females of both stories are thought of worrying about little, non-important things; the name of the play, trifles. Females in both books are not important and are mainly there to just take care of the man and bare children. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Another thing that took me a while to notice about the similarities between these two books was that they both seem to find clues and notice the little things.
In Watership Down they find a warren that they think is safe, big, and friendly. After talking with the rabbits and living the way they live they expect something weird is going on. In Trifles the women are finding things like the birdcage which are little things to the men but in the back of their minds they are thinking that it is just the reason the men are looking for, for why and who murdered Mr. Wright. So, Watership Down and Trifles are alike in feminism and in finding the little things that are the reason for it all.

Adams, Richard. Watership Down. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1972.

Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature. 11th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall , 2006.

Posted by: Kristin Dudra at February 15, 2007 09:17 PM

Professor Hobbs,
I believe there is a very distinct similarity between Twain’s “Luck” and Glaspell’s “Trifle.” Although the main character in “Luck” is a man and in “Trifle” is a woman they both have a lot in common. Their fate is constantly placed in the hands of other people. For example, in “Luck” Scoresby never would have amounted to anything had he not been lucky and fell into the pathway of people like the Reverend who were willing to help him. In “Trifle,” Mrs. Wright is being accused of murder and no one really knows who the true murder is. Unfortunately, she will have to be very lucky to get out of jail. Either she will be unlucky and spend the rest of her life in jail or she will be lucky like Scoresby was and get out of jail.
I believe these two characters end up in a lot of the same predicaments. Although Scoressby did not know how much he was risking when taking that test, his fate rested on the Revered or someone willing to teach him. Similarly Mrs. Wright’s fate rests in the hands of her lawyers and jury, hopefully she will be as lucky as Scoresby.
Thank you,
Jaime Hersh

Posted by: Jaime Hersh at February 15, 2007 10:03 PM

15 February 2007

Professor Hobbs-

Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” and Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” have many similarities in their context and ideas. Two of the biggest things in common, or “connections” would be that the women in both the stories undergoes a transformation of character, and also the similar roles of these women staying at home and heeding to the husbands’ advice.

In both of these short stories, we see a woman who has undergone a dramatic change in personality. In “Trifles” this is not actively described, but is understood by the comment of the other women who contrast her personality at the present as compared to the past. In “The Necklace” Mathilde’s transformation is clearly outlined throughout the story’s plot. Both women end up dramatically changing their personalities as they shift priorities and daily activities to opposite of what they used to be. Minnie in “Trifles” goes from a carefree happy girl who loves to sing in her choir to one who lives in an unhappy household and who no longer sings her beautiful music. Mathilde in “The Necklace” changes from an soft-spoken unsatisfied immature woman who only dreams of what she does not own and thinks that luxurious material belongings are her goal in life to one who does laborious household chores and becomes rather blunt and loud who tries to make as frugal of a living as possible. Both women in both stories make major changes in their lifestyles. Even though they might have undergone different transformations, each went through a change that impacted the way they interacted in their home.

Also, another common theme to these two stories is the role of the females in the home. In “Trifles” and “The Necklace” both women are expected to stay at home while their husband works at his job. Such a similarity shows the timeframe of the stories they are set in, in the history of women’s roles at home. Both Minnie and Mathilde stay at home and are seen to be there just to do as their husband says and to live the lifestyle their spouse has set out for them. Minnie stays in her home and obeys her husband’s orders as he dictates what she can and cannot like to do, such as sing her songs. Mathilde stays at home to lounge around and be there emotionally for her husband, but later on takes on the tasks of household duties when they live a thriftier lifestyle. Both women are expected to clean and maintain the household as their spouse goes to work and bring in the income to support themselves.

These stories have very different plots and meanings. But, both have some common underlying themes and ideas that are commonly seen throughout literature. Of course there may be many more connections between the stories, but I feel that these two are some of the most important.

Bettina Herold
ENGL121.003 Hum.Lit. MWF 1145-1245

Posted by: Bettina Herold at February 15, 2007 10:11 PM

Glaspell’s “Trifles” VS. Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”

There are many connections between “Trifles” and “Young Goodman Brown”. Some of the connections that I noticed were the use of gender roles, and irony.
In “Trifles” and “Young Goodman Brown” men and women had different gender roles. It seemed that the men were the more dominate sex, and women were in the background. In “Trifles” it seemed as though woman had to follow certain society rules, such as, calling each other only by their last names, and having to listen to the men. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale only referred to each other by those names (274). Also, in this time of the story, there was a murder investigation that the women did not have to attend. For, the men were doing the actual investigation, where the women just seemed to be off on the side, conversing with one another. In “Young Goodman Brown”, Goodman Brown was leaving on his expedition, while the wife just had to stay in the house, alone (222). In addition, both stories make the women seem as though they are always worrying about things, particularly, “little things”.
In “Trifles” while the women are conversing about Minnie Foster, they came across an unfinished quilt of hers, and were not sure if she was going to knot it, or quilt it. The men found this to be a funny thing, because they feel that the women are making a big deal, over something that really is not (274). In “Young Goodman Brown” before Goodman Brown was leaving for his expedition, his wife Faith, was worried about him leaving, and did not want him to go, in addition to, being worried about her own thoughts and dreams (222).
In “Trifles” and “Young Goodman Brown” there was some irony. In “Young Goodman Brown” Goodman Brown was not sure if he had to dream, or if this was reality, that his faith or religion had gone bad. Also in his “Dream” he saw his wife talking to a witch, and he thought that his “love” had gone bad as well. What is ironic is that, he thought that his faith, and his wife Faith, went bad (227). In “Trifles” the women compared Minnie Foster to a bird. They said that Minnie was “real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and fluttery” (275). The bird’s cage down was torn off the hinges “like someone was rough with it” (274). When they stepped into the house, the house was in bad condition as well (271). Also, when the ladies found the bird, it seemed as though someone wrung its neck (276). Mr. John Wright died by a rope wrung around his neck. More so, they women was not sure if Minnie Foster was going to quilt, or knot the unfinished quilt, but came to the conclusion that she was going to knot it. Mr. Wright had a rope knotted around his neck.

Tatiana Mack
English121 003
Professor Hobbs


Posted by: Tatiana Mack at February 15, 2007 10:29 PM

Professor Hobbs,

The “Trifles” French Connection

“Trifles” by Susan Glaspell is a short play where an attorney, a sheriff, a farmer, the sheriff’s wife, and the farmer’s wife and all investigating the murder of Mr. John Wright. Mr. Wright’s wife is the main suspect. The sheriff and the attorney are looking at all the larger facts of the crime scene: Mr. Wright was strangled, no windows were broken, a gun was present in the house but it was not the murder weapon; while the two women seem to be paying more attention to the “trivial” or “trifling” details: Mrs. Wright didn’t finish her quilting, the last square was erratic and uneven (very much unlike the other squares), the kitchen was a mess and the hand towel was very dirty.

The two women in this story seem to be thoughtful and detail oriented. At the mention of Mrs. Wright’s unfinished quilt the farmer’s wife asks “… I wonder if she was goin’ to quilt it or just knot it?” (273) The same woman, regarding the same quilt says “… and look at the sewing! All the rest of it has been so nice and even. … …it looks as if she didn’t know what she was about!” (274) Most men, especially from this time period would not have noticed something as small as this. (I know I wouldn’t have.)

At nearly the same time in another part of the world a woman of seemingly better means than the farmer’s and sheriff’s wives, is bored and dreaming of another, even more wealthy life. (5) This sort of behavior probably would have met with laughter or worse in the farmland of “Trifles” but in the urban setting of “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant it’s the norm. The attitudes of the women might be different but they seem to stem from the same root: in this period of time most women “… have neither rank nor race.” says Maupassant.(5) The woman from “The Necklace” deals with this by dreaming of wealth and when she gets the chance, dressing well and trying to act rich.(7,8) The women from “Trifles” on the other hand quilt, gossip, make preserves, and help with the farm work to possibly escape where they are or perhaps improve their lives. In both instances they aren’t really beaten down, but held back in a more pervasive way. I guess both sets of women are able to act out or express some independence but not as much as they would like.

Works Cited

Guy de Maupassant, “The Necklace” Writing About Literature. Edgar V. Roberts, Ed. with Leah Jewell. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. Pages: 5-12.

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles” Writing About Literature. Edgar V. Roberts, Ed. With Leah Jewell. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. Pages 269-277.

Best Regards,

Justin Bleggi

--------------------

This comment is a "model" response worthy of commendation. Good job. Students, this is what I am looking for regarding an acceptable engagement with the text.

~Lee

Posted by: Justin Bleggi at February 15, 2007 11:25 PM

Dear Professor Hobbs,

In reading several of the short stories included in the text “Writing About literature” by Edgar V. Roberts I noticed some connections among them. One interesting connection I noticed was between Guy De Maupassant’s “The Necklace” and the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell.

Each story involved the relationship between the female characters and their husbands. In both stories the main scope of the plot involved the happiness (or lack of it) in their marriage. In both cases the actions of the women in certain circumstances was a result of their status in life.

The woman in “The Necklace” had married an insignificant clerk. At that time a woman’s marital status decided her place in society. Women of that time “had no chance for an independent life and career” (5). The woman, Mathilde, was very unhappy with the life she was leading, all due to the poor income her husband was earning. It is interesting to note that we do not find out her name until later on in the story- a symbol, perhaps, of the unimportance of women. She wanted to go to the ball in a feeble attempt to “change” herself. The symbol of this change involved her need to wear a diamond necklace. It was this diamond, and how she acquired it, that foreshadowed what would be the ironic plot twist for Mathilde at the end of the story.

The woman in the play “Trifles” was being questioned for the murder of her husband. Much like Mathilde, she was obviously dissatisfied with her life and her husband. We later discover from two other women, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, that the woman’s maiden name was Minnie Foster (symbol again of the insignificance of women?) In this case, it was clothes, like the diamond in “The Necklace,” that became a major factor in her happiness and indicated her circumstances before her marriage. “She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively” (273) Also, in this play, a birdcage, and the discovery of a dead bird with its neck wrung, foreshadowed what was about to happen to her husband.

Works Cited:

Roberts, Edgar. Writing About Literature: 2005. Prentice Hall, 2005.

Sincerely,
Tina W.

--------------------

This comment is a "model" response worthy of commendation. Good job. Students, this is what I am looking for regarding an acceptable engagement with the text.

~Lee

Posted by: Tina W at February 16, 2007 12:12 AM

Colin Hough
Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 121.017 Humanities Literature
16 February 2007

Comparison: “Trifles” vs. “The Necklace”

In Susan Glaspell’s play, “Trifles,” there is a murder in the small farming town in Iowa. Throughout the story the county attorney, the sheriff, and 3 friends of the victim search the scene of the murder, the victims home, for evidence to find his murderer. In Guy de Maupassant’s short story, “The Necklace,” a woman who feels as though she has been burdened with the worst life possible, finds out after her losing a friend’s borrowed diamond necklace that life, in fact, could be much worse. She comes to this realization after her ten years of hard work to pay for the lost necklace, only to find out that it was a stage necklace, a piece of jewelry worth no more than twenty dollars. Though these pieces of literature differ in many distinguishable aspects, including the general plot, there are two aspects of both stories that caught my attention more than any other. The first comparison found between the stories is the role and treatment of both masculine and feminine figures. The second comparison made between the story and the play is the setting of both.

The first comparison, previously mentioned, was a very important issue during the time periods during which these pieces of literature were written. This similarity is the role as well as treatment of both women and men. In both stories, the male characters are seen as the figures of dominance. In “The Necklace,” the husband of the main character, a clerk at the Ministry of Education, is seen as the support for the family. Mathilde, the main character of this story and wife of the man just mentioned, is portrayed as just a fragile housewife with seemingly no experience with the phrase, “hard work.” In the short play, “Trifles,” the two male characters search ferociously through multiple areas of the Wrights’ property attempting to find evidence of who killed Mr. Wright. The three women of the story, on the other hand, remain in one spot throughout the entire play: the kitchen. The confidence within the men that they will find the murderer shows their attempt at establishing dominance as they have the sole intention of solving this mystery themselves. As it turns out, the stationary female characters confidentially solve the mystery just by taking notice of potential evidence around the kitchen. Staying true to the idea of withholding dominance throughout the search, the men brush off the women’s inclinations; what turn out to be the key to the mystery.

The other similar characteristic of each of these stories is the use of setting. As with all pieces of writing in any form, the setting is the most important introductory part to each of these stories. In both stories, the author and play write set the stories during the “dead of winter” in order to set a mood of gloominess and despair. Although winter is also seen as a beauteous time of year, it is seen in these writings as an eerie reminder of the moods of the characters at that time. In Susan Glaspell’s, “Trifles,” she uses winter in order to portray the darkness and isolation of the small farming town in which the story takes place. This is not explained in depth, but it can be seen right away, primarily when the Sheriff mentions how “It dropped below zero last night.” (Roberts, 269) Similarly, in Guy de Maupassant’s, “The necklace,” the author uses this idea of winter in a subtle way. For instance, when the main character, Mathilde, is leaving the ball at the Ministry of Education, the author uses her re-entry into the cold, dry weather as an abrupt reminder of Mathilde’s reality. While at the ball, she had more fun than she had had in a long time, but as soon as it is over, her “pretend” life came to a screeching halt as the effects of winter brings this to her attention.

Works Cited:

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles”. 1916. New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2006.

De Maupassant, Guy. “The Necklace”. 1884. New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2006.

--------------------

This comment is a "model" response worthy of commendation. Good job. Students, this is what I am looking for regarding an acceptable engagement with the text.

~Lee

Posted by: Colin Hough at February 16, 2007 12:24 AM

The Relationship Between “Trifles” and “The Necklace”

After reading the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell I noticed a similarity between it and Guy de Maupassant’s short story “The Necklace.” In both of these pieces of literature the women characters are of little status in the societies in which they live. In other words, the women are of lower status than that of the men. This is obvious due to the time periods in which these pieces were written.

In “The Necklace” the main character is a woman and she is born into a low status, but luckily born with good looks (5). It is mentioned on page 5 that “women have neither rank nor race.” During the 1800’s most women could not hold a job, unless as a maid or housewife. The men were the “moneymakers” of the time, therefore the finance of households depended on the occupation of the man. The women were merely around for their looks and maybe to do simple household tasks, but after all that is what the maids were for. Since women sat around and gossiped all day they would worry over small “trifles”, such as the way they looked or of the things they wanted.

The worrying over trifles relates “The Necklace” to the play “Trifles”, but the fact that women were looked down upon in both pieces relates them even more. In the play “Trifles” the women were just merely there to gossip and to be nosy. The men were the real reasons why they were there, the men had to be investigators to a murder. Women at this time still didn’t have much of a say in society. They were looked down upon and what they said really didn’t matter because the men “knew everything.” Therefore, the women would be nosy over anything that happened and worry over little things, such as the knots of quilts (274). The men laughed upon this, but to women it was important because that is how they spent their everyday lives.

As you can see both of these pieces of literature show the difference between the high status of men and the low status of women. In “The Necklace” women were unable to hold positions and merely just there for the men to look at and in “Trifles” the women weren’t taken seriously by the men. Due to this low status and lack of things to do the women of both pieces had nothing better to do than worry over little “trifles.”

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 1916. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts,
ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Maupassant, Guy de. “The Necklace.” 1884. Rpt. in Writing About Literature by Edgar
V. Roberts, ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Katie Kovac
English 121 003

--------------------

This comment is a "model" response worthy of commendation. Good job. Students, this is what I am looking for regarding an acceptable engagement with the text.

~Lee

Posted by: Katie Kovac at February 16, 2007 01:16 AM

When I think about connections between the story “Trifles” and any other story we’ve read thus far in class I am reminded of “Young Goodman Brown.” In both “Trifles” and “Young Goodman Brown” we see flaws in society that play major parts in the stories in both a narrative way, and a satirical way.
When you hear in “Trifles” the line “Well,ladies, have you decided whether she was going to quilt it or knot it?” (WAL 276) You hear a condescending tone being used towards the women in this story. Ironically, the women who worry about trifles essentially find a motive to the murder that is under investigation. Meanwhile the men are off trying to do police work and inadvertently overlook these pertinent clues.
In “Young Goodman Brown,” the satirical element is much less obvious, whereas the satire found in “Trifles” was in the story, “Young Goodman Brown” itself was wholly a satirical piece. Without prior knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials, one might not piece that together. Nathaniel Hawthorne was making a statement about the ignorance of the early American settlers who would often persecute people who were believed to have ties to the devil. Although the piece was aimed to be a satire, it turned out to be a great narrative.
In both texts we find that flaws in society such as sexual discrimination in "Trifles" or as general ignorance in "Young Goodman Brown" play important roles.


Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature Brief Eleventh Edition. 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. 222-230, 269-277.

Posted by: Joe Tuorinsky at February 16, 2007 01:19 AM

The line in which the title of “Trifles” came from – “women are used to worrying over trifles” (Roberts 360) – sums up Mathilde, the character in “The Necklace.”
Trifles are minute, insignificant aspects of life, such as the color of one’s shirt or who has what cell phone. They are things that ultimately shouldn’t (and don’t) matter in the big picture. But Mathilde worried about trifles. She worried about how people would perceive her if she had no jewelry while attending the ball. She worried that by wearing clothes she already had, she would be looked down upon. These things, while they may seem like the end of the world at the time, are hardly relevant. Mathilde learned the hard way by spending the rest of her life working to pay for a diamond necklace to replace one that wasn’t real in the first place.
As a result, I think this teaches us not to worry about such trivial things in life. Are material possessions really worth it? Or is character – like the one of the deceased in “Trifles” – what’s remembered in the end.

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 1916. Play in Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts,
10 ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003.

Posted by: Kendra at February 16, 2007 01:33 AM

I personally found the closet relationship of the story Trifles to the story Watership down. This is because I found the two ladies, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters to be searchers just like the rabbits. Here the women are looking though the home where a tragedy had just occurred, and trying to piece together some clues.
This reminds me very much of how the bunnies are looking very closely at every warren where they might try to settle down. They both have to be very meticulous for details. The rabbits had to make sure that they places were safe, while the women were being nosey checking out ever detail, even the hinges on the bird cage.
I also feel like maybe the women are underestimated in each of these readings. In the story Trifles the women are not recognized for their good detective skills and the rabbits in Watership do not like when the does recognize their own power. For instance, they are responsible for digging the holes and repopulating the rabbit community.
Also, in both of these stories they fear the unknown. The rabbits fear what else is out there, they know to be scared of humans, and other animals such as hawks and cats, but they keep finding new obstacles. (like when Bigwig got caught in the string) The women are scared to know what happened to lady that lived in that house. It seems that her death was very mysterious with the way the birdcage had been mangled and her needle work was unfinished.
-Nicole Novak

Posted by: Nicole Novak at February 16, 2007 08:52 AM

Erika L. Knox
Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 101.003 Humanities Literature
16 February 2007

Women and Their Trifles

Both Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” and Guy Mausipant’s “The Necklace” deal with the social qualms of women, and how men of their time era reacted to them. Both stories focus on women around the turn of the 20th century (Trifles 1916 and The Necklace 1884). They tell of a “simpler” time when women had fewer rights and lived for their husband, while maintaining a few things deemed important to them, mere trifles.

Like Mini Foster (Mrs. Wright) (273), Mathilde (5), got married, not because she wanted to, or because she was in love, but because she was obligated to do so. In the Time period that these women lived marriage was not always a happy occasion, but often more like a business acquisition. Mini Foster, apparently was must unfortunate, and married an un-cheerful, apparently violent man. Mathilde’s biggest problem was that her husband was not rich (as she wanted him to be).

Mathilde focuses on beautiful things like dresses and jewelry, while Mini Foster takes great pride in her quilting, and canning. Both are the “trifles” that only concerned women. They were the only things that women had. In the eyes of society, it would be preposterous for them to could not go out and work for themselves. These simple Trifles were, in a sense, their entire existence.

--Erika Knox

Posted by: Erika Knox at February 16, 2007 09:57 AM

Professor Hobbs,

In trying to come up with a connection between Trifles and another story we’ve read this semester I found some commonalities between this and the story Luck. The connection I found is that in both of these stories people learn that the person the story is centered around is not the person they thought they really were. The story Trifles focuses on Mrs. Wright and Luck focuses on Lord Arthur Scoresby and everyone in the story has their own opinion of the person that gets completely flipped around and twisted by the end.
In the story Luck, Lord Arthur Scoresby is thought of as a great hero of the war and everyone looks up to him including Mark Twain. Mark thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread until he meets a clergyman who explains how everything that made Scoresby a hero really happened and he realizes that the man is actually a fool who doesn’t even deserve to be in that uniform. Mark Twain goes from thinking Scoresby is the greatest hero to the dumbest of the dumb in this story and it’s very similar to what happens in Trifles, although it’s a different view change we see.
In Trifles everyone thinks that Mrs. Wright is this boring lady who likes to keep to herself and has a cold house and is just a cold person. Through this story Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters realize that she’s the same fun loving person they knew when she was younger and that her husband was really holding her back and keeping her down. They saw how much she was suffering being in that cold house with no love or no children and felt bad for her instead of not wanting to go see her anymore. This is a different personality change than what we see in Luck but both changes are a drastic outlook change of the characters.

Jeff Hoover

Posted by: Jeff Hoover at February 16, 2007 10:49 AM

Erika L. Gillenberger
Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 101.025 College Writing
16 February 2007

Women in Distress

As I read over the play "Triffles" and the story "The necklace" one would find some connections between the two. Both of these stories were written in a time were high society was prevalent. Another similarity between these two women was that they were stuck in the lives they were living.

In "The Necklace" it states that Mrs. Joisel, "had no dowry, no prospects, no way of getting known, courted, loved, married by a rich and distinguished man” (pg. 5), unfortunately she married a clerk with not much to his name. This caused her to live a life that she didn't want to live. She wanted riches and nice things, but in her circumstances she had no choice in the matter. In the poem, “Trifles" Mrs. Wright was stuck in a loveless relationship. When Mrs. Halle says, “I don't think a place'd be any cheerfuller for John Wright's being in it." (pg 272) This informs you that Mr. Wright was not a loving man or husband. Mrs. Wright was stuck in the relationship and had no way out.

Another similarity was the social class similarities of the times. Mrs. Joisel in "The necklace" suffered with the stigma of being lower class. “She had no decent dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but these; she believed herself born only for these.” (pg.6) She was embarrassed to be seen, because of her lack of material possessions and inexpensive things.

Mrs. Wright on the other hand had nicer things when she was younger. Once she married she became poor. “I suppose she felt she couldn't do her part, and then you don't enjoy things when you feel shabby. She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster." (pg.273) This quote informs use of Mrs. Wright’s misfortunes and her embarrassment, because of her lack of finer things like she had once owned in the past.

Work Cited

Roberts, Edgar. “Writing About Literature.” The Necklace. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 5-12

Roberts, Edgar. “Writing About Literature.” Trifles. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 269-277

--------------------

This comment is a "model" response worthy of commendation. Good job. Students, this is what I am looking for regarding an acceptable engagement with the text.

~Lee

Posted by: Erika G. at February 16, 2007 11:16 AM

Amber Dunmire
Engl 121
2/15/2007

I think there are many connections between the article, “The Necklace”, by Guy de Maupassant, and “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell. In both of these articles, women are the ones that are dominating the situation.
In “The Necklace”, Mr. Loisel takes his wife to a dinner. “Mrs. Loisel was a success. She was prettier than anyone else, stylish, graceful, smiling and wild with joy” (Roberts, 8). In the article, ”Trifles”, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale were at the house were Mr. Wright was murdered. Mrs. Peters states, “But I’m awful glad you came with me, Mrs. Hale. It would have been lonesome for me just sitting here alone” (Glaspell, 275).
In both of these articles, these women somewhat take over the article. Why did the women have to be at the house where Mr. Wright was murdered? They had no right being there. And why did Mrs. Loisel have to somewhat take over her husbands dinner by dancing with all of the different men and leaving her husband to the side? I think she should have stayed by her husband through out the night since he is the one that took her there.

Posted by: Amber Dunmire at February 16, 2007 11:21 AM

Dr. Hobbs,

Here is my paper comparing Twain's "Luck" and Glaspell's "Trifles".

Erin Knisley
February 16, 2007
Dr. Lee Hobbs
ENGL 121.003

Luck is a Trifling Thing

In both Mark Twain’s short story Luck and Susan Glaspell’s short play Trifles, the authors chose to examine the question of gender roles. However, each author does so in their own way. Whereas Twain glances over the masculine gender, Glaspell centers in on the character of women. Though the authors have contrasting focuses, they share the quality of showing that their ‘foolish’ men (or women) are both belittled for their actions.

In Luck, the character of the Reverend sits at his good friend, Lord Arthur Scoresby’s, celebratory party, haranguing the man for his utter foolishness and condemning him for his medals. The Reverend is too caught up in his demeaning to see the true Scoresby beneath all the Reverend’s illusions. The Reverend remarks with a touch of disdain “Privately—he’s an absolute fool.” (Twain 360) and then proceeds in his ranting of how foolish Scoresby is, listing example after example of the man’s ‘dimwittedness’. Scoresby is’ ‘privately’ a fool…one must wonder how the Reverend comes to this conclusion when the word ‘private’ at least when referred to a singular person implies that the person is alone. How then does the Reverend know the foolishness of Scoresby if he implies himself that he is not around when Scoresby is supposedly acting foolish? In reality, he does not.

The Reverend simply chooses to debase Scoresby to make his own aching ego feel slightly soothed. Scoresby’s nature is what the Reverend belittles, Scoresby himself, not his foolishness. Scoresby is a browbeaten man for his ‘foolishness’. However, big brother does not stop there; instead choosing to demean the ‘foolish’ ‘little things’ of other women years later, proving brother knows no gender.
While Twain is unwinding his Luck a decade plus some before her, Glaspell is having similar arguments amongst the characters of her play. The women folk are up against a tough crowd. In one corner stands Mr. Hale, the court attorney, and the sheriff (Mr. Peters). Not only are Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale standing alone in their corner, but they stand outnumbered and against their husbands besides. As the murderous play begins, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, defend the charged woman (Mrs. Wright) when the men crack jokes about the cleanliness of the home such as the Court Attorney’s comment of “Here’s a nice mess.” (Glaspell 394), when he finds a sticky spot on the shelf. The women are then laughed at for their ‘messy’ worries and Hale remarks, “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles.” (Glaspell 394).

However, despite the fact that the women keep making comments to themselves about what the men consider only ‘trifles’, the women are the ones making the important discoveries. It is they who find the dead bird and then hide it quickly away as realization begins to dawn upon them corresponding to evidence in the case (Glaspell 398). They then even make the blatant comment that “she was going to—knot it.” (Glaspell 399), giving away so much more meaning behind their words than the men have the wisdom to realize. A quilt in their day and age offered nothing more than a woman’s hobby, not the remarkable evidence it could offer today. Only the women comprehend the importance of their discovery. It is interesting to note that the women keep the bird, and the ominous insight about the quilt to themselves, for to the men, their discoveries are mere trifles, but trifles are not quite as trifling as one may believe.

If the “very best thing in all this world that can befall a man is to be born lucky.” (Twain 363) then the very best thing to befall a woman is her attention to the little things in life. Both Scoresby (the masculine presence) and Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale (the effigies of femininity) are put down for their ‘character flaws’ as the Reverend in Luck or the men in Trifles see them. However, these ‘flaws’ are what raise them above the level of their persecutors. Scoresby is the military hero; the Reverend is his bitter shadow. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are the knowledgeable investigators, the men folk are their comedic sidekicks. There is no reason for them to be ridiculed as they are, but in the discrimination against them lies the irony. Scoresby, Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Hale; they are living the life that their embittered counterparts can only wish for but never touch, their subconscious minds just have not alerted them.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” 1916. Rpt. in Writing About Literature Eleventh Edition by Edgar V.
Roberts. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Twain, Mark. “Luck.” 1891. Rpt. in Writing About Literature Eleventh Edition by Edgar V.
Roberts. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

--------------------

This comment is a "model" response worthy of commendation. Good job. Students, this is what I am looking for regarding an acceptable engagement with the text.

~Lee

Posted by: Erin K. at February 16, 2007 11:26 AM

12 February 2007

Class,

Thank you for your class participation today in the various group performances of Susan Glaspell's “Trifles.” I was very impressed with your acting abilities and I hope you enjoyed the change of pace .

If for some reason you don't have a copy of the play (still have purchased the textbook), you can find a digital copy of the text by clicking HERE.

A few of you mentioned after class today that you’d like to have more time to prepare tonight’s homework assignment in light of the fact that the first draft of reading response #1 will be due in class Wednesday for the in-class peer review session.

While I’m not the kind of instructor that generally allows students to dictate class policy, I do have, at least, some sense of compassion so I’m going to allow the following compromise:

Rather than having the homework I assigned for tonight be due Wednesday, I’ll extend the deadline to Friday, giving you (including tonight) at least four days to complete. This should give you the extra time you need to revise your reading responses, although I know that many of you have already been working on them all along (so you won’t have too much to do any outside of a little revision here and there).

Since I am extending the deadline, I’ll be raising the point value of the assignment from the normal [1] to a [2]. Therefore, I’ll be expecting a VERY nice, thought-out response in order to award the full 2 points. This also means that if you DON’T do it at all, it will have a more negative impact on your participation than if it were just 1 point. So, keep that in mind too.

Below you will find the homework assignment from today repeated. I’ll reprint this on the English-blog and Turnitin.com sometime later this afternoon.

Homework Instructions:

1. Connections. Your homework tonight is to write two to three good, quality paragraphs (a mini-essay), that draws connections between the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell and ONE of the other literary texts we have examined thus far this semester.

2. You may connect some aspect of Trifles to some aspect of either Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” Twain’s “Luck,” Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” or Adams’s “Watership Down.”

3. Any issues of morality, gender roles, etc.? Any use of literary devices common to two stories, e.g. foreshadowing, irony, symbolism, etc.?

4. The kind of connection you draw between “Trifles” and one of the other texts is entirely up to you but I will put in this one stipulation: Rather than coming up with a list of various connections you can make, I’d rather see one or two connections only that you can develop with examples from both texts.

*For example, if you claim that there were “magic” or extraordinary swords of great power used in both Star Wars and in The Lords of the Ring (we didn’t’ read these, I’m just using a random example), I’d want you to show me the page numbers from both texts where this happens and then I’d expect to see a bit of development in your argument as to why this connection is significant.

*Another example of a connection might be the role of talking “pigs” as the primary characters of both “Animal Farm” and “Charlotte’s Web.” Again, we didn’t read these, but I just want you to see what I mean. Your connections can be something material from the story or it can be something symbolic. The important thing is how you “defend” your connection “thesis.”

5. Remember, I DO want to see page numbers used for those citations. You should also provide the MLA citations of both works at the end of your mini-essay. A literary work reprinted in another book, such as the Roberts text, might look something like this:

Hill, Samuel. “The Day I Dropped My Ice Cream.” 1989. Rpt. in Learning about Books by Frank McGillickutty, ed. New Jersey: Ensemble, 2006.

6. Please submit a copy of your mini-essay to BOTH Turnitin.com AND to the English-Blog. This assignment will be due FRIDAY (11:45am class time) rather than Wednesday. It will count for 2 points instead of 1. Don’ forget that you should bring the hardcopy of first draft (NOT a “rough” draft) of reading response #1 to class with you on Wednesday so you won’t miss the opportunity to have it peer-reviewed.

7. I also suggest that you begin the habit of going back to the old posts on the English-blog to see if anything was written about your posts. I sometimes give “awards” to especially insightful responses and I also note on some that need to be reworked.

--------------------------------------------

*NOTE* The deadline for this assignment has now passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise

~Lee

Posted by: Lee Hobbs at February 17, 2007 11:06 AM

Google
My Blog

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved. 2006.