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Close Reading IN Practice – 3. How to develop sophisticated analysis. When the County Attorney criticizes Minnie Wright’s housekeeping skills because of the dirty roller towel, Mrs. Hale responds that “Those towels get dirty awful quick. Men’s hands aren’t always as clean as they might be.”.

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close reading in practice 3

Close Reading IN Practice – 3

How to develop sophisticated analysis

slide2

When the County Attorney criticizes Minnie Wright’s housekeeping skills because of the dirty roller towel, Mrs. Hale responds that “Those towels get dirty awful quick. Men’s hands aren’t always as clean as they might be.”

Weak:

Mrs. Hale defends Minnie, pointing out that men are the ones responsible for the mess. She won’t criticize another woman.

Better:

Mrs. Hale defends Minnie, but at the same time she offers an indirect criticism of all men. She doesn’t refer to one man’s use of the towel, or claim that John Wright himself is messy; instead, she refers to “men” and “towels” in general, which broadens her argument. Instead of one house, Mrs. Hale appears to be thinking of many homes, and correspondingly many similar situations. She subtly shifts the blame, not just from a woman to a man, but from a single woman to the entire male gender.

slide3

When the County Attorney criticizes Minnie Wright’s housekeeping skills because of the dirty roller towel, Mrs. Hale responds that “Those towels get dirty awful quick. Men’s hands aren’t always as clean as they might be.”

Best:

Mrs. Hale defends Minnie, but at the same time she offers an indirect criticism of all men. She doesn’t refer to one man’s use of the towel, or claim that John Wright himself is messy; instead, she refers to “men” and “towels” in general, which broadens her argument. Instead of one house, Mrs. Hale appears to be thinking of many homes, and correspondingly many similar situations. She subtly shifts the blame, not just from a woman to a man, but from a single woman to the entire male gender. As with the men’s earlier characterizations of “women,” Mrs. Hale’s language suggests that the conflict in Trifles is larger than a single criminal action; instead, clear lines are repeatedly drawn between men and women as groups. Glaspell’s characters—especially the men—seem less like individuals and more like representative types; she thus appears very interested in how the specific events in this play might reflect broader social patterns.