Sewing and Weaving in Piers Plowman
While the production of food in PPl has long been analysed, that of textiles has
not, despite the fact that Piers himself engages in it. Wordplay on sowe/sewe
invites the reader to make associations between the two tasks. The relevance of
‘sewing’ to the rest of the poem’s themes is supported by the fact that Piers himself
is a practitioner of the ‘tailor’s craft’ (B.5.547). The essay next notes L’s unusual
awareness of gender and class in his depictions of the division of labour on the
half-acre (B.6) and of poor women’s doubly disadvantaged situation (C.9). The
moral slipperiness of textiles indicates even more poignantly than does plowing
the spiritual consequences attendant upon working for a living, as well as the
construction of medieval gender.
Women's Studies, 35 (2006), 431–52.
Hoffman, A. Robin