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Moll Flanders

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Catherine Ouimet

on 21 February 2014

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Transcript of Moll Flanders

Cunning & Fraud
- Written by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)
- One of the first novel ever written in England
- Published in 1722
- 320 pages without chapters
- It's a fictional biography

Moll's love affair

Moll's Childhood
Born in Newgate prison
Carried to Colchester Essex by gypsies or Egyptians.
No prospect of living (since she is child of a convict/ no support system)
Public Charity
Employment ( supposed to start at 8 years old, but starts at 14)
Fortunes and
Misfortunes of the
Moll Flanders

Young Love & Treason
Big Belly & chi-ching $$$?
Steps her foot in Hell!
Moll and James in America

The Draper & Her Half-Brother

She's alone and about to run out of money again. She stays alone for two whole years until she's absolutely destitute.
Moll turns to theft as her last resort of making any money.
In order to survive, Moll Flanders continually breaks the law by stealing: packages, jewelery, money, watches, silver, gold, and more.
She is always lucky to never get caught when she is stealing.
She has many accomplices such as her faithful governess which helps her find local criminals to help her steal.
Many accomplices get caught and hanged, but not Moll Flanders.
Finally, she gets caught stealing in a house and is sent to Newgate were she is sentenced to death.
Moll Flanders also Miss Betty
The Mayor's Lady
The Mayor's elder son/ older brother
The Mayor's Youngest Son/younger brother (Robert or Robin)
Moll's Mother/ mother-in-law (no actual name)
The Gentleman-Draper
Moll's Brother/ husband
The Gentleman of Bath
The Banker**
Moll's Lancashire Husband (James alias Jemmy)
The Governess
Moll's son/cousin/nephew** (Humphrey)

-London = banker
-mid-wife = governess = mother= ally

Main Themes
Greed / Vanity /Misery
Feminism/Links with today

- Servant at a gentlewoman's house , raised as one of her own daughter
-17-18 years old, vanity!
-Love triangle
- Elder brother made his move
- money/ sexual favors
-Robin/Robert's proposal
-parents, confrontation, social status
- arguments, shock, fever

-died after 5 years
-1200 pounds in her pocket
-2 children were left with their grandparents

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)
- Lower-Middle class
- Dissenting protestant and a political activist
- After school, he became a merchant
- In 1683, he published his first political pamphlet
- In 1684, he got married.
- In 1685, he took part in the Monmouth's Rebellion
- Afterward, he published several tracts to protest against the King
- In 1692, when the war with France broke out, he went bankrupt
- It took him 10 years to pay off his debts.
- In 1702, he wrote a political pamphlet that lead him to Newgate prison
- In 1719, he wrote Robinson Crusoe and his other novels followed
- He died in 1731.
- He is known to have used at least 198 pen names.
- The action is happening during the 17th century, not the 18th
- The parish were under no obligation to take care of penniless children who were not born there
- Women's income was depending on Men --> Women needed to get married
- Women's choice: A Wife, A Prostitute, A Thief or A Servant
- In The 17th century, crime really paid.
- Thieves could get hanged or transported for stealing. The least they could expect would be spending time in prison.

- Money was the most important thing.
''...if a young Woman have Beauty, Birth,
Breeding, Wit, Sense, Manners, Modesty,
and all these to an Extream; yet if she
have not Money, she's no Body...''

- Can we say that Moll Flanders is greed? Is she a bad person after all ?

- Defoe wrote that it was a moral lesson. Is it really?
" I was now a single person again,..."
- 42 years old and 450 pounds in her pocket

-well settled false identity
-gentlewoman North Country (cheaper, rich men)
-banker cuckold proposal

Helloooo Lancashire
"thought myself the happiest creature alive; when an odd and surprizing Event put an end to all that Felicity in a moment, and rendered my Condition the most uncomfortable, if not the most miserable, in the World."

She is a widow, alone on London that seeks to find a new love.
She meets a draper(tradesman) who is a gentleman as she was looking for.
He spends all of his money, his creditors arrest him and he flees to France.
She meets a plantation owner that has his plantation in Virginia.
She meets his mother and has children with his plantation owner.
After spending many times listening to old stories her mother-in-law tells her, she realizes something.
Mother-in-law = Birth Mother
She leaves after 8 years of marriage to return home
Leaving behind one son.
"..., as not to leave him for a richer."
- wedding bell rings
-a month later...?
Jemy + grand welcome
"We are married here upon the foot of a double fraud."
*The novel itself, which details its heroine's scandalous sexual and criminal adventures, keeps moralizing (particularly traditional Christian moralizing) to a minimum
wedding bell rings
-misfortune with her
Lancashire husband
returns to London
-left alone and impoverished once again...
"Thus the Government of our Virtue was broken and I exchang'd the Place of Friend for that unmusical harsh-sounding Title of Whore."
death sentence?
Returns to London with broken goods
Decides to go to Bath, where she decides to get a lodging.
She meets a gentleman who is quite wealthy, but discovers that he is married to a wife that has gone sick.
He, noticing that she is quite poor gives her money.
They become lovers during a trip to Bristol
He becomes ill had has an epiphany.
her life
"..., I will ever be true; and I had much rather,
since it is come that unhappy length,
be your whore than your brother's wife."
wedding bell rings
Religion/ Repentance
- Link with Defoe's life
- Young/Old
- Consequence to this greed: Isolation
- Evolution of her greed
"..., though not in the eye of the World, and that it was as effectual a marriage hat had pass'd between us as if we had been publickily wedded by the Parson of the Parish."
- not being virgin before wedding
-belief in religious unions
- relation with
a married man
-minister in the prison
discussed among ourselves:
-Is the matress God telling
her to stop?

-mother in Virginia
After being transported to the US Moll Flanders is bought and released by the captain of the boat.
They land in Virginia and curiosity leads Moll to check on her relatives.
She learns her old mother kicked the bucket.
Her husband(former) has gone a little crazy and blind.
She meets with her long lost son Humphrey.
She sets a plantation with James farther away from the family in fear he discovers her other husband.
She has a deal with her son to get each year a hundred pounds($) for the present of giving her heritage plantation to her son.
Humphrey's father dies and Moll confesses everything to her husband.
Feminism and links with today
intelligence, practical competence, self-sufficiency, and defiance of conventional feminine role
Persevering and adaptable, she dominates every situation. She will depend on men for security, but no more than necessary.
Moll Flanders tries to become independent of men, and for some it can still be the case today.
Full transcript