Literature is a record of the joys and sorrows of being human
It embodies the ideas about the human condition.
An effective piece of literature makes us think about life, for the author wants us to consider his or her insights into our common experiences
These insights or ideas are the themes of the work.
Mastering fear through courage
Love—good, beautiful, fulfilling, or harmful
Explanation of Theme
these ideas are identified by the term ‘theme’.
“Men’s hands aren’t always as clean as they might be.”
“Quilt it or not it?”
“Nothing here but kitchen things.”
The Title and Subject Matter of the work
Direct Statements Made by the Characters
“A Jury of Her Peers”
an article or thing of very little value
The time and place of the story helps to communicate
A beautifully decorated house
These are words and phrases that appeal to one of our five senses
where ‘messy’ human problems can be dealt with openly and lovingly.
is not a guarantee that it will be a home
the author’s ideas and attitudes about life
our imagination as they help us visualize the scene, the characters, and the actions.
one very rational character and brings them together
that we need to be whole people to be happy
An author creates
one very emotional character
We need to have a balance of emotion and reason in our lives
(a happy or sad resolution of the conflict)
the incidents in the plot
their words and actions
The Work as a Whole
the plot’s outcome
Comments on the life of a Farmer’s Wife
“Twice a week there is bread making, twice a week yeast making, one day washing, one day ironing, all your pantries and safes to be washed out once a week, dairy work to be attended to, beside innumerable jobs in the way of preserving, jelly making, pickling, curing hams, putting down pigs’ feet, looking over and nipping off your applies twice in winter, and making hogshead cheese, mince meat, a thorough house cleaning twice a year, then sewing on dresses, aprons, skirts, drawers, gowns, etc., by the dozen. “Then supposing the housekeeper has a baby…”
–from So Sweet to Labor – Rural Women in America 1865-1895 — Norton Juster, 1979.
“[She] made 191 pies, 140 cakes, 80 loaves of bread, 729 biscuits, 156 fried cakes, and 1,026 cookies in her statistical year. . . . This, in addition to caring for her children and doing her regular housework. This list may aid those men who sometimes wonder whatever a woman does with her time.”
from Success with the Garden and Farm, 1897
in So Sweet to Labor—Rural Women In America 1865-1895. Norton Luster, 1979.
Rural vs. Urban Living
Loss of Voice in Patriarchy
Determination of innocence vs. guilt
Themes of Trifles
- Bread baking
- preserves spilled
- Cold air
- Warm or coldness
of the dead bird
- Bird/Woman singing
- Silence & voices
- Doors opening & shutting
- Rocking chair
- Bird cage
- Jar of Cherry preserves