COUNTY ATTORNEY What–was she doing?
HALE She was rockin’ back and forth. She had her apron in her hand and was kind of–pleating it.
COUNTY ATTORNEY And how did she–look?
HALE Well, she looked queer.
COUNTY ATTORNEY How do you mean–queer?
HALE Well, as if she didn’t know what she was going to do next. And kind of done up.
COUNTY ATTORNEY How did she seem to feel about your coming?
HALE Why, I don’t think she minded–one way or other. She didn’t pay much attention. I said, “How do, Mrs. Wright, it’s cold, ain’t it?” And she said, “Is it?”–and went on kind of pleating at her apron. Well, I was surprised; she didn’t ask me to come up to the stove, or to set down, but just sat there, not even looking at me, so I said, “I want to see John.” And then she–laughed, I guess you would call it a laugh. I thought of Harry and the team outside, so I said a little sharp: “Can’t I see John?” “No,” she says, kind o’ dull like. “Ain’t he home?” says I. “Yes,” says she, “he’s home.” “Then why can’t I see him?” I asked her, out of patience. “‘Cause he’s dead,” says she. “Dead?” says I. She just nodded her head, not getting a bit excited, but rockin’ back and forth. “Why–where is he?” says I, not knowing what to say. She just pointed upstairs–like that [himself pointing to the room above]. I got up, with the idea of going up there. I walked from there to here–then I says, “Why, what did he die of?” “He died of a rope round his neck,” says she, and just went on pleatin’ at her apron. Well, I went out and called Harry. I thought I might–need help. We went upstairs and there he was lyin’–
COUNTY ATTORNEY I think I’d rather have you go into that upstairs, where you can point it all out. Just go on now with the rest of the story.
The most notable thing about trifles is the detail it goes into of the nuances in communication between the early twentieth century public. I picked the previous passage because it highlights the that concept. This culture is one that is quick to point out the faults of the people around them. While it isn’t a direct literary device in the work, it shows, fairly bluntly, the change in the tendencies of culture and how it impacts the world around them.
Daisy Miller is the first work that we have read that really jumps into my head. But that kind of does the same thing this does – to an extent. There is the aunt who constantly talks about Daisy Miller to Winterbourne which is an example of that change in culture i detailed in the first paragraph. But it doesnt really highlight the contrast i wanted to display in this second paragraph. Anne Bradstreet and Emily Dickinson both are female authors who wrote in a way that suggests their gender was hampered by societal restrictions and that the overall feel of society was one of a restricted decorum. But maybe the fact that their writing didn’t have significant amounts of dialogue which inhibited me from thinking of them the first time.