Developing a Thesis Statement Activity
Discuss whether each of the following thesis statements is interpretation or summary. Then discuss whether the interpretive statements clearly focus on how literary elements contribute to the meaning of the work as a whole.
· 1. Trifles is a play about isolation and loneliness.
· 2. The broken birdcage in Trifles functions both as a clue to the circumstances of the murder and as a symbol that illuminates the role of Mrs. Wright in her marriage.
· 3. The character of Mrs. Peters, the wife of the sheriff, undergoes a significant change during the course of Trifles, a play set during a time when women were defined primarily through their husbands.
· 4. The frigid setting of Susan Glaspell’s Trifles contributes to the characterization of all three women: it highlights the cold and isolated existence of the absent Mrs. Wright, while evoking the sympathetic responses of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters.
· 5. Even though we never actually meet her, Mrs. Wright exerts a powerful presence in Trifles.
· 6. In the opening scene of Trifles, the men dominate the room as they stand near the stove, while the women remain near the door and quietly tolerate the cold.
· 7. The absent Mrs. Wright, suspected of murder in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, embodies the idea that loneliness, abuse, and isolation can lead a person to despair and even violence.
· 8. In Trifles, the male authority figures, including the sheriff himself, dismiss the female characters’ investigation into the murder of Mr. Wright.
· 9. The kitchen, the dead bird, and the knots in the quilt have symbolic significance for the overall meaning of Trifles.
· 10. In Trifles, the discovery of the dead bird is a pivotal complication, especially for Mrs. Peters, that changes how the women view the role of the law.