Moll Flanders

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Morality, Natural law Pages: 6 (2172 words) Published: March 27, 2012
Literary Review
An appropriate explanation of Locke’s theories on natural law and the state of nature are given to the summary of three ideas. Self-preservation, leaving enough for others, and not attaining more than needed are given as the concepts of Moll’s personal acceptance to larceny. Moll’s theft of a necklace from a child is warranted under Locke’s concept. In her reflection of the theft, Moll optimistically moralizes her actions under natural law. Moll’s uses natural law theories throughout the novel to alleviate internal condemnation of her social misconduct (Zhang).

Defoe creatively modifies Moll’s moral, spiritual, and sexual thoughts, that would normally govern human behavior, into mercenary values. McMaster goes on to view Defoe as being detached from Moll; judging her and the social class that she represents. Defoe’s overall theme for Moll Flanders is that of mercenary values being placed above all others (McMaster).

The narrator’s layout of Moll’s perspective to the reader of the story is based on the experiences of her life. She has repented; however, the effect of her wicked sins are still apparent. out of fear, not out of belief. Moll’s repentance is a christian style device for controlling her fear of punishment for her crimes (Zimmerman).

A very detailed breakdown of seven main themes of John Locke‘s theories are discussed in this article. Most importantly reviewed are the Law of Nature, State of Nature, and Property (Tuckness).
In this article, Daniel Defoe’s novel, Moll Flanders, is analyzed in accordance with 18thcentury marriage law and natural law (Ganz). Analysis
Morals have been more than just a topic of debate throughout the world; they have defined entire cultures and the subcultures within them. Unexamined interpretations of right and wrong provide groundwork to societal judgment and persecution. Legal murders are committed in wars over right/wrong controversy. Society forms laws, religions, and caste systems around these suggested morals. Failure to accept and live by these morals allows punishment to be justified in the social realm. Daniel Defoe’s novel Moll Flanders has been banned by the index of the Catholic Church and many other organizations in lieu of Moll’s theoretically immoral actions. Perceptively, I submit that banning an excellent source of higher education is unethical. However, either decision could be right and social morality isn’t a terrible thing at all. An understanding that everyone has the right to a socially respected, experience inspired, individual perspective of morality is required before judgment is passed. This project will link Moll’s moral perspective to John Locke’s theory of Natural Law and justify, by natural law, her larceny, bigamy, and insincere repentance.

Before the bitter analysis, lets gain some relevant interest in the theory of Natural Law. It’s a common assumption that the U.S.A. was established on Christian principles. However, the study of history tells a different story. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson was chosen to write the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress. Jefferson retired to a hotel to complete the task. The Declaration turned out to be more than strikingly similar to John Locke’s philosophical works. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Richards 5).” This mirrors Locke’s writing with the exception of exchanging the pursuit of happiness with property (Richards). Property was interpreted to be anything tangible. In light of this disposition, Locke’s theories on Natural Law and Natural Rights formed the support structure for the new American Government. The quote above from the Declaration of Independence gives an abstract of Locke’s natural law theory. Locke’s social theories were very popular...
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