Moll Flanders’ strategies of economic survival
Moll Flanders- the main heroine in Defoe’s novel of the same name, is an ambivalent character that combines seemingly incompatible qualities. She is a forceful, persistent young girl who obtains her way in most things. Moll is beautiful and attractive, but yet witty and manipulative. She is resolute to achieve economic success despite the social conditions and poor circumstances, thus her life gets full of immoral behavior, mischief and trickery. Along with another Defoe’s masterpiece- Robinson Crusoe, the two novels teach us valuable moral lessons and are still relevant nowadays. Moll and Robinson have the same goal- economic survival but there’s a significant difference in their strategies.
The novel shows the tough and emotionally draining journey of Moll Flanders who is born in Newgate Prison and abandoned at about a year-and-a-half. She has several marriages and children that haven’t worked out the way they should, she gets into criminal lifestyle and finally fulfills her greatly desired dream- to gain fortune and economic success. Her vanity and greed are the main focus of characterization. Even as a young girl her desire is to become a gentlewoman which is almost impossible for a lower-class woman because of the rigid class lines in England in that period. In fact, that desire leads her into one misadventure after another throughout her life. According to her theory, a young girl in poor circumstances has the right to find support as best as she can and that motivates her strategies of economic survival.
Money is the driving source in the book. It becomes more important than class, love, moral and everything else. Moll is determined to prosper without working and the best possible way is to marry a rich husband. She sees people as commodities and her relationship with them as business transaction: “[…] as for their common design, that I understood too well to be drawn into any more snares of that kind....
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