Sisterhood in Trifles
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Sisterhood is just as real and just as influential as brotherhood, at least that is what Susan Glaspell was trying to convey when she adapted her 1917 play, Trifles, to the short story, “A Ju-ry of Her Peers.” The influence of sisterhood, the bond eventually shared between Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, women who barely knew each other, was not portrayed in the play as well as in the prose for several reasons. The limitations of expression that dramas encounter, along with a change in point of view and a limitation to outside information is why sisterhood was not as deeply conveyed in the play, making it almost imperative that Glaspell write a prose to show it.

There are a few aspects to plays that make them less fitted to show human emotion. Sometimes human emotion can only be seen through the thoughts of a person, or sometimes ac-tions are unclear unless given up to a thought or emotion. There are obvious ways for an audi-ence to obtain an understanding of the emotion felt by an actor. Emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, and happiness, are all familiar expressions to an audience. It is when the audience is faced with aspects like community and kinship that understanding could get a little fuzzy. Take Mrs. Hale in Trifles for example: “Id hate to have men coming into my kitchen snooping around and criticizing.” (page 1414) And then her thoughts after saying the exact same thing in “A Jury of Her Peers: “She thought of the flour in her kitchen at home– half sifted, half not sifted. She had been interrupted, and had left things half done. What had interrupted Minnie Foster? Why had that work been left half done?” (page 176)

Here in “A Jury of Her Peers,” you can see Mrs. Hales thoughts as she settles into Mrs. Wrights kitchen. She began to shift from being critical of Mrs. Wrights kitchen to sympathizing to the way she had been interrupted and left everything only half done. These emotions of sym-pathy, that could have easily been added to the play with Mrs. Hale speaking about the way she felt, and the influence that her own life began to have on her perspective of Mrs. Wright, are shown in prose because the play could not capture this emotion with dialogue alone. She would have hated the men to have come into her kitchen and criticize the mess. She leaves it simply at that. There is no explanation in the play as there is in the prose as to why Mrs. Hale suddenly sympathizes with Mrs. Wright. Because of the prose and the ability to capture thought and ex-pression with point of view, we have an answer.

As a reader, it is great to know everything about a character, even if it is only one charac-ter, because third person omniscience pulls a reaction/response out of the reader and engages them in the action. Interestingly enough, both Trifles and “A Jury of Her Peers,” are set in a third person point of view. The only difference is that “A Jury of Her Peers”

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Human Emotion And Mrs. Hale. (July 2, 2021). Retrieved from