Literary Text as a Demonstration of Feminist Criticism: The Case of Piers Plowman
The meeting of the Four Daughters of God and their exchange of views on the events of Easter in B.18 seem to enact aspects of Kristeva’s notion of the chora and provide a site for exploring elements of Butler’s ideas of gender and sex. Rather than emphasizing the iconic significance of the Daughter, this essay explores how their interaction, as well as the entrance of Book, demonstrates the kind of collective endeavor which at one stage seemed so central to feminist thought. The essay suggests that the allegory of PPl frees the terms “male” and “female” from specific, essentialist associations and instead renders them as markers of stability/fixity and flux/fluidity respectively: the physical movement of the Four Daughters within the passage and the movement of the text itself not only renders this passus (and by extension the whole poem) open to feminist analysis but also makes more accessible the theories of Kristeva and Butler.
Journal of Gender Studies 9.1(2000): 45-54.