Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Daughters of Heaven: A Law and Literature Analysis

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posted on 2021-11-15, 01:38 authored by Loke, Hannah Mae

This paper conducts a law and literature review of the play Daughters of Heaven by Michelanne Forster. The text portrays the murder of Honora Rieper by Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, and the trial that ensued. This paper explores the play’s depiction of the insanity defence in light of the law of the time and in the context of Christchurch society of the time. The social influence on the application and interpretation of the law is explored via the character of Bridget in particular, who is clearly influenced by Forster’s own views. Forster does not make an explicit ‘good or bad’ judgment on the law, but her shock and disbelief of the events is evident throughout the text. Her use of legal concepts is predominantly for entertainment purposes, and as such is mostly basic and undetailed. This does not, however, detract from Daughters of Heaven from being a dramatically gripping and compelling work.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Name

LL.B. (Honours)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Research Paper or Project



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Law


Morris, Grant