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What is the symbolism in Trifles?

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Quick Answer

The symbolism in Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, revolves around a canary. Other symbols in the story include the quilt, the kitchen and the jars in the kitchen.

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Full Answer

One of the most prominent symbols in the novel is the canary, which lives in a cage and resembles Minnie since she married John. The canary's song symbolizes Minnie's life before she married, as she used to sing and be free before she married John. Following her marriage, Minnie hardly communicates with anyone. John silences both of them, and the canary's life represents Minnie's life because both are lost due to Minnie's overbearing husband.

Minnie's messy quilt is a symbol of her wrecked home life and unhappiness. The quilt starts out with precisely sewn stitches, but they become sloppy, a symbol that represents Minnie's life that starts out nicely but takes a dreadful turn for the worse.

Similarly, her unkempt and bare kitchen is another symbol of her unhappy, empty home life. While most kitchens serve as the heart of the home, Minnie's kitchen is stale and dirty. The broken jars represent Minnie's broken life, and the fact that they are broken by the cold weather indicates that Minnie's life and home has turned cold.

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