Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, (In Literature and Society: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Nonfiction, 4th ed., 551-564).
A. Reading of the play. Your group will be responsible for a character who appears in Trifles, including assigning that character to one of your own for a reader’s theater performance of the play. The rest of the class will act as the enthusiastic audience.
B. Character analysis. After our impromptu performance, your group will reconvene and work on doing a character analysis of your assigned character, based on dialogue, stage action, and textual clues. (See the character list below for help in determining likely characteristics.) Some character aspects will be obvious, but others will be based on guesswork. However, make sure that your guesses are plausible within the parameters of the play. In other words, the characters are not likely to have been born in the 20th Century (Hint: note publication date of Trifles).
C. Class discussion. Each group will report on its character.
Group #1: George Henderson, County Attorney
Group #2: Henry Peters, Sheriff
Group #3: Mrs. Peters
Group #4: Lewis Hale, A Neighboring Farmer
Group #5: Mrs. Hale
Status and money:
Family, ethnicity (family history):
Diction, accent, etc.:
Places (home, place of work, hangouts, etc.):
Bad habits/Good habits:
Fears/traumas in life:
Character flaws/Character strengths:
Taste in books, music, sports, etc.:
Birthday (including year):
Physical and mental condition:
Past illnesses (physical and mental):
*(Adapted from What If? by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter, HarperPerennial [New York], 1990, pp 47-48).