Money in Defoe's Moll Flanders

Topics: Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe, Newgate Prison Pages: 3 (1128 words) Published: December 13, 2007
Money as Moll's God
Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders is the alleged autobiography of a woman and her struggle for success and survival in eighteenth-century England, the key to which is money. The importance Moll places on monetary value and the fact that money controls her thoughts, emotions, and actions serve as evidence that money is Moll's god. In the American Heritage Dictionary, a god is defined as any thing that is "worshipped, idealized, or followed." Through Moll's actions and based on the things on which she places importance, it is made clear that she worships and idealizes money and will do whatever it takes to follow it.

Moll's idealization of money is evident in how she places it in the utmost of importance, above all things including love. Of her first sexual encounter, in which her lover presents her with money directly after their rendezvous, she says, "I was more confounded with the money than I was before with the love, and began to be so elevated that I scarce knew the ground I stood on" (Defoe 22). To her money is more important, more moving, than love. From a young age, Moll has confused the two and they will forever be falsely connected in her mind.

This unfortunate association leads to Moll viewing herself and others as little more than monetary resources. She measures men based on their wealth and social standing. Once in describing a meeting with one of her husbands, Moll says, "I confess I was very glad to see him… He pleased me doubly too by the figure he came in, for he brought a very handsome (gentleman's) coach and four horses, with a servant to attend him" (Defoe 165). Moll is equally happy to see her husband as she is to see the prosperous condition in which he arrives. This is further evidence of her fixation with money. In addition, Moll constantly defines herself in terms of financial worth. "My circumstances were not great… I had preserved the elder brother's bonds to me to pay me £500... and this, with what...
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