Read Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe David Blewett Online


‘I grew as impudent a Thief, and as dexterous as ever Moll Cut-Purse was’Born and abandoned in Newgate Prison, Moll Flanders is forced to make her own way in life.  She duly embarks on a career that includes husband-hunting, incest, bigamy, prostitution and pick-pocketing, until her crimes eventually catch up with her. One of the earliest and most vivid female narrators in‘I grew as impudent a Thief, and as dexterous as ever Moll Cut-Purse was’Born and abandoned in Newgate Prison, Moll Flanders is forced to make her own way in life.  She duly embarks on a career that includes husband-hunting, incest, bigamy, prostitution and pick-pocketing, until her crimes eventually catch up with her. One of the earliest and most vivid female narrators in the history of the English novel, Moll recounts her adventures with irresistible wit and candour—and enough guile that the reader is left uncertain whether she is ultimately a redeemed sinner or a successful opportunist. Based on the first edition of 1722, this volume includes a chronology, notes on currency and maps of London and Virginia in the late seventeenth century.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators....

Title : Moll Flanders
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780140433135
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Moll Flanders Reviews

  • karen
    2019-04-07 18:57

    the person who was reading this used, 49 cent, copy of moll flanders before me stopped reading at page 26, judging by the abrupt cessation of circled words like "prattle", "would you were, sir", "brother fell", and "he would" i like to think about this person, and their busy pen. it's so arbitrary - they are not even words that might be unfamiliar to a moderately-literate reader. i tried to find a code in it: "help, i am being held hostage by a mad librarian", but to no avail. almost every page has at least six circles or underlines and then suddenly - nothing. did the pen run out of ink? did they abandon moll flanders? did they fall out of a tree? it's mysterious. another thing that is mysterious is moll flanders. she swans through this book, dripping babies from her body like a tree sheds leaves, stealing and whoring and manipulating men to keep her head above water and yet i'm not in love with her. how can this be? i mean, it's a fine book, but i can't see falling in love with it or with her character. and honestly, i don't know what to make of the realization that if she had just stayed married to her brother in the first place, she would have avoided a whole lot of trouble and had a lovely son and a fruitful plantation. let this be a lesson to you: choose wisely; incest or a life of crime. there is no in-between.

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-04-13 23:04

    It is an universall and Fixed law that should a reader take up any of the works of Master De Foe she shall be obbliged to begin forthwith to write and may I say even to think in the manner of Master De Foe; for it is like a virulent infecktion; which will, it may be seen redilly, be habituated in exentrick spellings, irregular Capitilizations, alarming and unexplainable lunges into the italick; and headlong sentense construction, and the Devil take the hindmost. Mistress Moll Flanderses tale self told came off but three Yeares from the romaunce of Robinson Crusoe that was cast away on the Island in the Oroonoquoo. This Dan Foe, for such indeed was his original name, was a scribbler for the news presses and a great stirrer of pothers for the Politick Parties and so twas nothing astonishing that he got himself into Newgate a time or two and also had a spell in the Stocks; and he dabbled in Matters of Business with more gusto than wise discrimination, and of a like twas no great surprize that he finds himself Publickly Bankrupted; and so finding he can turn out tales at speed, and that the Printers are at need of a very fluid pen, he puts forth eight long tales in FIVE YEARS and him a man of SIXTY years. In those dayes of Queen Anne and King George THE FIRST this style of tale telling was new, there was hardly an one before Crusoe, and so it was called novel, meaning, a NEW THING. So, to come now to Mistress Moll, it was no meer nothing that an entertainment should be found in the detailled moral conundrums that this woman was got into at so many times, and what she herself made of them, and how she justifyed them, and so forth. Each twist of FATE is to be chewed over mightily for page upon page until Mistress Moll’s jaws may shurely have begun twingeing. Ponder ponder ponder, so goes she. And then : ponder ponder ponder.But on occasion Moll will come forth with such a line as thisIt is but here and there that a Man is to be Found who is fit for a Woman to Venture upon.In regards to the NOVEL may we say this, I wonder. That by the time the 4th or 5th child has begun walking and talking it is not such a Phenomenon – indeed, may you look back and shake your Head at the great wonder you did make of the first that did so.

  • Shovelmonkey1
    2019-03-27 19:57

    Moll Flanders; the tale of a bawdy wench out and about being bawdy and getting up to all manner of, well, bawdiness. For those of you not up on your ye olde Englishness, bawdy is a general term for something which is lewd, obscene and lascivious. If you don't know what any of those words mean then Moll Flanders will be a nice surprise for you (and maybe you should get out more).Moll is essentially a working girl on the make but really she's just trying to find Mr Right and settle down with a nice respectable fellow in order to get a bit of financial security. Life in the early 18th century was no picnic after all, especially if you're a lady with a bit of a reputation and not two coppers to rub together. Social services were not around to step in, help you into a small flat and give you advice about being a job seeker. Nope, life on the banks of the Thames was very much a sink or swim affair although many people find it difficult to swim when their throats have been cut from ear to ear and they've been heaved in head first after their pockets have been emptied. London was not a pretty place to be and no one can blame Moll for trying to make the best of a bad situation. And try she does, although this mainly involves going through husbands faster than Elizabeth Taylor. Husband One dies an early death and leaves her with small children to care for. She leaves them tucked up at home and heads out onto the street to begin a career as an artful con-woman hoping to snare another husband. Husband Two is wealthy but quickly bankrupts himself and does a runner to France leaving Moll with some fond memories and an empty bank account.Swiftly moving on to husband number three, there is some exciting foreign travel followed by an unfortunate bought of incest (well, the world was a lot smaller in those days). Potential husband number four never comes through with the goods which brings Moll to potential husband number five. Number five is a slow mover and is put on the back-burner while Number six is sought out to fill the hole (pun intended) in the interim. Number six turns out to be an even bigger con-artist than Moll and hi-jinx ensue when they both think the other is looted. Nine children later and six husbands down Moll is still far from living the high life and resorts to meaner crimes than seduction in order to fill her purse. You can imagine that a life like this is probably going to be less than kind on a lady's general appearance but Moll still seems to pull in the gentlemen. Perhaps bawdiness is a virtue in its own right.A brilliant alternative classic tale with an unusual and bold heroine who is not chaste, girly or prim. A refreshing antidote to the later ladies of the Austen school of writing. Moll Flanders would kick Elizabeth Bennet's ass any day of the week.

  • Whitaker
    2019-04-16 22:02

    Did I enjoy this novel? No. In some ways, its story and writing technique are far too rudimentary for a 21st century reader. It certainly didn't grab me the way other books have. But I think if you want to see how the novel got from there to here, you can't pass this by. Because reading Moll Flanders is like watching the grainy footage of a home video of your lover at five years old. You can see the gestures and traits that make up the person today, but only sketched out in infant form. You have to love it because you love the fully formed adult person now, and it's so squee-fascinating to see that some bits have been there since the very beginning. I'm a bit of lit-geek and I loved seeing how you could see the beginnings of the character/realist novel in Moll Flanders. The whole thing is more plot than character. Certainly Moll has far less internal substance and texture than Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina. However, Moll is also the progenitor or one of the progenitors of later heroines like Scarlett O'Hara (Gone with the Wind / Margaret Mitchell) or Emma Harte (A Woman of Substance / Barbara Taylor Bradford): survivalist bad girl who triumphs over everything the author throws at her. And boy does he throw everything at her: "husband" #1 is a seducing cad who marries her off to his brother; husband #2 dies after a few years of marriage; husband #3 turns out to be her brother; husband #4 is a highway man who tricks her into marrying him but eventually lets her go; husband #5 is a decent man who dies after five years of marriage. And in between husbands 3 and 4 is an extended love affair. And so, Moll is also the daughter of the Wife of Bath. Was this a good read? Not in the fun sense of the term, nor in the value-judgement sense either. But I think it certainly belongs in the canon and if that's something that matters to you (and there's zero reason why it should), then it certainly was a good read.

  • Rose
    2019-03-20 19:03

    3 things I liked about this book:1. Moll's distinctive character and voice2. Her ability to turn almost any situation into a positive, eventually (Moll Flanders wobbles, but she never falls down!)3. How the book highlighted the difficult positions a woman could be left in during this period as a result of, for example, becoming widowed with children, not having a husband/family to support her, having illegitimate children, or being married and thus all personal property legally belonging to the husband, who might fritter it away3 things I did not like about this book:1. The disregard for Moll's children. OK, I can understand her doing her best to forget them when she's in a very difficult situation. The second time round in Virginia, for example, she doesn't ask after the other child she had left there. She overdoes the "loving mother" bit a touch right at the end when she re-meets her son in Virginia, and you'd think in this mood she would be minded to say something about that son's brother or sister she left behind. Similarly, at one point she comments on going back to the place she left her two children by Robin, and finds out about (and reports back on) the fate of his parents, brother, and sister - but not a word about the two children. 2. It was skillfully written so that the reader retained more sympathy for Moll than might have been the case, but she was still a pretty nasty piece of work, however much she justified her actions to herself.3. The ending seemed rushed, forced, and as if it was trying to make up for a prurient emphasis on "wickedness" throughout most of the rest of the book.3 things I learnt from this book:1. Fabric could be really, really expensive (yet apparently not subject to particularly tight security). We are told that a typical servant-girl would earn about £3 a year, £5 will pay for a baby to be fostered for a year, and Moll estimates that she could live on £6 a year. She routinely, however, steals pieces of cloth worth upwards of 20 guineas.2. London had an area called "The Mint" in which debtors were safe from prosecution for their debts.3. You could get hung for all sorts of crimes in the past. "At its height the criminal law included some 220 different crimes punishable by death. These crimes included such offences as "being in the company of Gypsies for one month", "strong evidence of malice in a child aged 7–14 years of age" and "blacking the face or using a disguise whilst committing a crime"." (Wikipedia)3 words used excessively in this book:1. satisfaction2. perplexity3. convenience

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-04-11 18:48

    Moll Flanders, Daniel DefoeThe Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders. Who was Born in Newgate Prison, and during a Life of continued Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife, Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew rich, lived Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هجدهم ماه نوامبر سال 1990 میلادیکامیابیها و شکستهای مل (مال یا مول) فلاندرز معروف (مشهور)؛ نویسنده: دانیل دفو؛ داستان زنی چند شخصیتی؛ ا. شربیانی

  • Ellen
    2019-03-24 17:49

    The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c.Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and dies a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums . . .Original title page for Moll FlandersThe character of Moll Flanders has traditionally baffled critics.Is she an ironic character? Is she truly penitent? How may her inconsistencies be justified? Critics have asserted there is irony in Moll Flanders but it is not in the book; that is, we--as readers--may appreciate irony in Moll's character but Defoe does not provide it. What may be easier to demonstrate, then, is that "Defoe's attitude toward Moll is consistent, even if Moll herself, ironically or otherwise, is not" (James 203). Whatever the critics propose, for readers, Moll emerges as irascible, vibrant, and wonderfully complex. Moll also shows the limited choices for a woman of her time. Moll Flanders, as the description from Defoe's original title page suggests, is a novel written in the confessional mode. As readers of this type of work, our role is akin to that of a priest: we listen to the confessions and tacitly provide understanding or forgiveness. To elicit our sympathy, Defoe places Moll in an environment not only hostile but enticing, a world, he would have us believe, that tempts and lures an otherwise virtuous individual into a life of crime. Moll’s world, ostensibly mimetic, is really portrayed with great selectivity. Many characters—even those as important as her first lover—are not even named; settings are often depicted as just “a house” or “the street.” What does loom large on Moll’s horizon is money. Again and again, Moll focuses on money and the material; early on, she defines herself in terms of her net worth.Moll’s indoctrination into a materialistic world starts in childhood. Orphaned, Moll is raised by an elderly woman who feels amused pity for Moll’s desires to become a “gentlewoman” and let Molls live with her rather than go into service. The ladies of the town, curious about the “little gentlewoman,” visit her and soon begin to give Moll gifts of money and fine clothes. When Moll’s elderly guardian dies, one of the families that had shown an interest in Moll takes her into their home. Though poor, Moll describes how she receives an education equivalent to that of a gentlewoman. By a twist in circumstances, Moll gets an early “taste of genteel living” (9) far above her actual station. Although Moll describes herself initially as “very sober, modest, and virtuous” (12), she is led into a liaison with the eldest brother in the household. His dominance soon takes hold, and Moll describes his tactics in terms of lures: “he began with that unhappy snare to all women, viz. taking notice upon all occasions how pretty I was” or “After he had thus baited his hook” (13). Though Moll admits her strong passion for the elder brother, her stronger passion soon becomes clear. After an initial episode of kissing, the brother gives Moll money. Moll’s reaction is telling: “I was more confused 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” (17). On a subsequent occasion, he gives Moll a “handful of gold” (18), and its glittering reality becomes the dominant image in Moll’s landscape: “As for the gold, I spent whole hours in looking upon it; I told [and yes, this is the right word:] the guineas over and over a thousand times a day” (19). To gain Moll’s complete surrender, the brother offers her a silk purse with a hundred guineas in it and the promise of one hundred guineas annually until he marries her. With irony intended or unintended, Moll’s passion and greed gain equal footing: “My colour came and went, at the sight of the purse and with the fire of the proposal together” (22), and Moll succumbs to his advances.Significantly, money and attendant material possessions are foregrounded while the rest of Moll’s setting recedes into the background. The elder brother—as we could predict—does not marry Moll and her reluctant marriage to the younger brother, done only out of financial necessity, receives a rapid narration. Molls tells us there is little worth describing, “…I lived with this husband, only to observe that I had two children by him, and that at the end of five years he died” (51). Typically, Moll assesses her present situation in terms of money, a description more graphic and several lines longer, than that of her five years of marriage.Moll’s early adventures set up her pattern of behavior. Despite her professed good intentions, when push comes to shove, Moll consistently acts out of self-interest. Moll’s hostile world tempts her with material gain, she succumbs, eventually has some type of downfall, and then defines her outcome in terms of her current net worth. Moll’s patterned conduct puts the reader in an interesting situation. Moll may momentarily hesitate and try to rationalize a forthcoming seduction or theft, but we never doubt the outcome.However, in a society that would otherwise provide little choice for an unattached woman, Moll’s ability to silence any internal qualms greatly increases her freedom of movement. While we might find her attempts at rationalization or short fits of morality funny, Moll Flanders is a complex character. Ultimately, she is not simply funny nor simply tragic, but fully realized and equipped with powers of resourcefulness and self-preservation that might have been admired in a man.

  • Jason
    2019-03-20 19:10

    Women! You need to read this book. Armchair Historians! You need to read this book. Forensic Sociologists! You need to read this book.Moll Flanders is, I think, a rare look at the treatment and disposition of lower class women in Britain in the early 1700s--what they thought, how they comported, and their daily interactions, no matter how insignificant. What makes it a rare exposition? Fiction ofttimes captures the mood and milieu of a people and their condition far more accurately--and with much more meaning--than sterile government reporting and historian interpretations thereof. And this book is a snapshot of the then-current state of low income conditions instead of a retroactive screed or a future prediction. Daniel Defoe is regarded (by those crazy Wikipedians) as one of the most prolific of all British writers, and he is certainly one of the best at cataloging daily life. His fiction portrayed Everyman (or Everywoman in this case). It's a welcome relief to fiction of the Royal Court--its seneschals, courtiers, gallery, entourage, baggage, its rarefied air--that was so common among his literary peers. Defoe's main character, Moll, is a woman with little money and few prospects. Throughout the book we witness the vagaries of her life in astonishingly candid details. She willfully, gladly and repeatedly partakes in whoring, infidelity, incest, child abandonment, rampant thievery, collusion, obstruction, misrepresentation. Despite what would normally be intriguing yet deplorable behavior, Defoe manages to make Moll, if not a likable character, at least one under which the pressures of her demographic makes her a believable, credible, and forgivable protagonist.I understand Moll's behavior to be a faithful representation of her class. Unschooled, abused, almost no legal rights, victimized by any able man, no great hopes to improve her condition, destitute, routinely sick, routinely pregnant--this is the daily grind for women in 1722 Britain. Moll Flanders is a good, though unintentional, primary source that could easily be used as a historiography of the era.I recommend women read this book, not for my star rating, but because a man has written what I believe is a true, unabashed representation of a woman's condition in the 1700s. I'd like to know what women think of this book. I believe the abuse, sexual mores, and survival tactics of women in a brutish man's world at the lowest income levels is an unexpected reveal, and though the story drags at first, you may find yourself rooting for Moll. And despite her licentiousness, she ultimately finds modest wealth and success. She outwits the legal system, prevails to find a man of some substance, and escapes her demographic. Interestingly, she makes no excuse for how she lived; there's reflection, but no real penitence. What do women today think of Moll? Is she diamond or quartz? Is this image of woman ready for high school English--a discussion for sophomores? Now, Robinson Crusoe is close to my heart as one of my rare 5 star ratings, and the only book I've read both as a child and an adult, with equal curiosity and gusto, producing equal coolness. But I'm a man, and that was a man-story (and a boy's story too). So, if this story is about a women, does it work in the same regard as RC does for men? The writing, by common translation, has all the mile markers of early 18th century prose. The pervasive capitalization of random nouns, the apostrophe-heavy argot, no break for chapters, and the fastidiousness of complete thoughts for every sentence. All the hallmarks of what was then 'proper writing.' In the handwritten manuscript, I picture the letter 's' written like so many 'f's. 3.5 stars.

  • Paula W
    2019-03-21 20:10

    When I was younger, I was a smart girl but not smart enough to get a full scholarship to college. My parents were poor, so any help from them was out of the question. I knew I had to make it on my own. So, I worked three jobs during my freshman year. I worked at White Castle, I typed stuff for attorneys, and I did another job that I have never told anyone about until now. I was Mrs. Claus. I worked for a company that had dozens of Mrs. Clauses who would call children during the holiday season. I got an email telling me who to call and when, and I called those little stinky spoiled children and talked to them about Santa's reindeer. I hated every minute of it, but it paid the bills, so I called those little fuckers like it was nobody's business. Making a living isn't easy, and Moll Flanders knew that. This woman did some stuff to make ends meet that took some guts. She was a prostitute and a pick pocket. She dated men and married men and slept with men who she thought could help her. She was tough, and she was dedicated. Moll was not going to starve. Hell no, she was going to be the best prostitute/pick pocket in the world. I admire that in a perverse way. On the one hand, it is hard to believe that a novel about an independent woman trying to survive was written in 1722. It is one of the first novels ever written, actually. On the other hand, the structure of the novel is a complete mess, making it obvious that it was written in 1722. I am willing to overlook that. Because Moll Flanders is one of my very favorite literary characters. She is the Scarlet O'Hara of the 1700s; she has backbone. She's racy and edgy. She might have also slept with her brother on accident. I mean, haven't we all? (NO, No, and absolutely not, but we can live vicariously through Moll and her other escapades, which is way better than accidental incest, in my opinion).

  • Pinky
    2019-03-31 19:53

    Ever wondered what the significance of Ned Flander's wife's name on the Simpons?Moll Flanders is about a woman that not only fell on hard times, but is a strong, self asserted woman that uses any possible wiles to survive in a time when women were still nothing more than trinkets. She goes from reputable, to the London street slum, to accidentally marrying her brother, to living a long life with one that she loves.Far beyond its time, Moll Flanders is a classic. Hard to read at times, as is most of the books that came from the 1700s-1800s, just meerly because of the style of writing can get long in the tooth. This isn't a book for someone to pick up that isn't willing to read.

  • Frederick
    2019-03-28 17:49

    This, of course, was called an actual memoir when it was published. Today's novelists should take note: The first novels definitely were meant to deceive the public into thinking they were true stories. The Norton Critical Edition I read in college was one soild paragraph. This means Defoe didn't get an effect out of the LOOK of his prose, unless an effect of incredible suffocation was intentional. The fact that it was one paragraph drove me insane, as it did my elder brother, who, upon hearing I had read it, said, "Oh, my God. It was one paragraph!"It is a great story about a woman who uses her body to free herself. It's frightening, funny and tragic. The character of Moll Flanders clearly influenced James Joyce in his characterization of Molly Bloom. (No need to ignore the fact that both characters share the first four letters of their names.) MOLL FLANDERS is told in the first person, as is Molly Bloom's soliloquy in ULYSSES.Defoe gave us ROBINSON CRUSOE (which was marketed as an actual account) and A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR, which, although it was a work of fiction, is still used by historians.Moll Flanders is not a very likeable woman, but she is a survivor and her escapades are well worth taking in. Take her home.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-02 15:52

    Largely confusing, frenetic action interspersed with long, prosy, preachy morality lessons, and then plunged right back into constant action again. Defoe's storytelling appears almost entirely random, especially towards the end, picking out one tale to tell of her wicked ways and days, and suppressing others that sound much more interesting. There's hardly any reflection on character here, if any at all. I'm not counting the times when Defoe pauses to lecture his audience on God's mercy while having Moll pretend to be stricken by conscience by things that seem highly improbable, with outcomes afterwards which seem positively incredulous. He never really makes Moll a character at all, but rather a conduit for his opinions of the time and place. His constant message is that a girl like Moll could have led a moral life, if only she had enough money to do so. She falls in and out of good circumstances, and is a good person so long as she has the money to be. He does emphasize what a problem it was especially for a woman with no resources, and her very limited options for getting by in the world, especially if she is no longer young or beautiful. I do give him credit for that. But he makes her so unappealing... I mean, all her thoughts are either preachy and moral and obviously from Defoe himself, or justifying what she does, or glorying in her successes. She seems to forget that she has children half the time. She cares about what becomes of only one of them, and seems to disregard the other, oh.. eight of them? She doesn't seem to care for clothes, her appearance is only mentioned in connection with morality or disguising herself, she hardly has any female friends, nor do they ever talk about what women would have talked about at the time. There's no convincing woman in there.

  • Cass
    2019-04-12 22:56

    I finally finished reading Moll Flanders, and I loved it.I have heard such negative reviews about this book. I have heard it said that the heroine is not likeable. She is painted as a whore and a thief. I came away with an entirely different view.Her character hooked me from the start. A beautiful and skillful woman, she is intelligent but unworldly. She meets with great success in the beginning of the book due to her own personal accomplishments, aspirations, and personality. She takes what little she has and uses it as best she can. She keeps running into bad luck which she works hard to overcome. I just adored her.I love everything about the book. This isn't pulp fiction. I was recently inspired listening to a cambridge professor on the radio commenting on the idea of reading for fun. He criticised the idea that we read pulp fiction for fun, and suggested that we should read good novels for fun, he suggested Anna Karenina etc. The idea struck home with me, these are well written and highly enjoyable pieces of literature, why are they often considered too hard. I read Anne Karenina recently and found it fabulous, it blew me away.

  • Jim
    2019-04-05 18:05

    Amusing, picaresque portrait of an unsrupulous antiherione (the narrator) in 17th century England and America. She lies, she steals, she whores - whatever it takes. I, and I suspect she, lost track of how many children she has by an assortment of fathers, but no matter. The fact that there are no separate chapters may daunt some, but her amoral, approach to all her conflicts is most satisfing and you root for her to succeed.

  • Katharine
    2019-04-14 16:54

    Last year I described this book as being like a big gushy Cinnabon, sweet, sticky, and cloying. I love it to bits, but it does make me feel like I need to wash, or something.

  • El
    2019-03-24 23:13

    (I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.)I have long said, "Oh, yeah, I've read Moll Flanders!" I have it in my head I read it in college, either on my own or as part of a class.Now that I actually have read Moll Flanders, I can't seem to recall ever reading this story before. I think the reality was I borrowed a friend's copy of Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets written a whole 171 years after Defoe wrote Moll Flanders. I can't apologize enough for my memory - it sucks. The best I can reason is both novels are about women whose first names begin with the letter M. Yep, welcome to my head, folks.I do remember without a doubt watching a movie version of Moll Flanders. It was this one with Alex Kingston. Yes, Doctor Who-fans, you may know her as River Song. Before she was River Song, she took her clothes off in a movie version of Moll Flanders. You're welcome. (The sad part is I don't even remember why we watched the movie in college if we didn't read the book. Uhhhh...)Having just read Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, I will say that there's more engaging activity in Crusoe, which is funny to say because a large part of that book involves Crusoe tromping around the jungle talking about the Bible and stuff. But Moll herself... I hate to sound like I'm victim-blaming here, but she got involved in some very frustrating encounters that were hard to read because you just want to shake the shit out of her. But there is some sexy stuff, whereas there's no sex in Crusoe since it's primarily just him and a bird on an island. (What he does with the bird in his spare time is between them.)I wanted to like this story more, but it's not all that exciting to read through all the various things Moll goes through from birth to adulthood. She didn't have an easy life by any stretch of the imagination, but she also wasn't stuck on an island, where I think she may have actually benefited.Anyway, it's fine, and if memory serves (hah, not-bloody-likely), I liked this story more than Stephen Crane's Maggie... though clearly that needs a re-read someday soon too, just to see if I even read that one like I think I did.

  • Donna
    2019-03-23 16:56

    My first thoughts on the reason why I disliked this book were that it was because of the old style of writing, but considering Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ford and Cervantes all provided enjoyable works before Defoe was on the scene, I therefore must look to the writer's skill as a fault in itself.I don't believe 'Moll Flanders' to be a well crafted story. This is mainly due to the fact that the protagonist's many displays of 'dumb luck' leave an air of contrivance which contaminates the entire novel. The reader cannot help but assume the author was, at times, granting his central character too many lucky escapes to make her appear, perhaps, more wretched, and perhaps, more hard-done by. I couldn't help but dislike Moll due to this - Defoe made her too special, which in turn made her, to me, too unbelievable. QUOTATIONS I LIKED:"...if a young woman have beauty, birth, breeding, wit, sense, manners, modesty, and all these to an extreme; yet, if she have not money, she's nobody, she had as good want them all, for nothing but money now recommends a woman...""...if a young woman once thinks herself handsome, she never doubts the truth of any man that tells her he is in love with her, for if she believes herself charming enough to capture him, 'tis natural enough to expect the effects of it.""...she is always married too soon who gets a bad husband and she is never married too late who gets a good one."

  • David Sarkies
    2019-04-02 21:15

    Survival in the 17th Century15 January 2017 My first impression was that this woman has had more husbands than Elizabeth Taylor, but when I counted them, even if you include the guys that she shacked up with as opposed to marrying, she just falls short. Then again, I'm not really sure we can compare Moll Flanders with Elizabeth Taylor because I have a feeling that the reason that Taylor married so many men wasn't out of desperation, or because her previous husband died leaving her with nothing. Then again, Flanders does make a comment about being careful of flatterers since they can lead you in the wrong direction at times. Anyway, Moll Flanders is considered to be one of the world's first novels (at least in English because we do have a couple of novels from Ancient Rome, even if one of them is not extant, which didn't stop Felini from making a movie about it, but I digress). I'm not going argue against that, though a part of me wonders whether it is actually fiction, or rather an account that Dafoe transcribed intentionally keeping the identity of the subject a secret. Well, we do have Robinson Caruso, which while it was based on a true story, is still fiction. The main theme of the book is the plight of women in late 17th Century England (though while Dafoe does claim that the story ended in 1683, there are a number of anachronisms in the book – we all know how much things can change over a period of fifty years). Right from the beginning Moll, which isn't her real name because she did an awful lot of things that she didn't get caught for, and while she is telling her story at the end of her life, she realises that she could still land up in a lot of trouble if the authorities found out about them – and it wasn't uncommon for thieves to end up swinging from the end of a rope. First of all we are living in a time where there is no government support. Further, Moll suggests that if she had been born in France she would have ended up in an orphanage, and as such would have not needed to end up living a life of crime. However, there was no such support in England (which in a way doesn't surprise me when we compare England to the continent today). As such, it seemed that the only way a woman was able to survive was to get married, though there is a suggestion later on on the book that there were options to work. The thing with Moll is that right from the beginning of her life she had had the good fortune of marrying men that were reasonably well off. However, while she was able to get by with her looks while she was young, once she had hit forty, and her last husband died, she discovered that fluttering her eyelids and marrying the first man that came along no longer worked (though, as we also learn, there were men who would make themselves appear wealthy so as to get their hands on a widow's fortune). There is a suggestion that crime does pay, and pay well. Okay, while Moll wasn't exactly upperclass (which sets this novel apart from the Eyres and the Austins), she was reasonably wealthy. She was also incredibly street smart, and had made the right friends. Interestingly, back in those days cloth was a legitimate item to steal, and we find that the fences would pay rather handsomely for it. This does not seem to be the case these days, since with the advent of fast fashion, clothes have literally become so cheap that people will wear them once and then throw them away. The amount of clothes that are thrown away in Australia in the period of an hour is mind-boggling. Then we have Newgate, which seems to hang over the whole story like a shadowy beast. Well, that's not surprising because that is where most thieves ended up. Newgate wasn't nice, though it was much better in Dafoe's days that it had been centuries before. My suspicion was that Newgate was basically a gaol where people ended up on remand, namely because the only two punishments were the gallows, or transportation. I would say that if you had money and ended up in Newgate, then things were slightly better, however I suspect that this is also the case in modern gaols. Well, for professional criminals, goal is more of an inconvenience than a punishment – whereas Newgate seemed to act, not that well either, as a deterrent. Transportation is an interesting concept as well, and during this time the destination happened to be the United States. I'm not going to go as far as claiming that the colonies were uninhabited – they weren't – but the arrival of Europeans, and their diseases, had decimated the native populations. As such, in all intents and purposes, it was mostly uninhabited. This is a far cry from the United States of today, which is a highly advanced nation, though it seems that back then, in a time of small scale farms, life was somewhat simpler. However, transportation wasn't being sent off to the colonies to become a farmer – you became an indentured servant for the period in which your sentence lasted, and when you completed it you had the option of going back to England, if you could afford it that is (and most people who ended up here couldn't). The final thing that struck me was the nature of poverty back in those days. Okay, I would hardly call Moll desperate, since while at first she stole to survive, she reached a point where she had a meagre income, and the opportunity to live an honest life, but having been bitten by the proverbial bug, she simply couldn't stay away. The suggestion is that if you get away with it, you suddenly realise how easy it is, and the more you get away with it, the easier it seems – that is until you get caught. There is this idea that people actually know that you are a criminal long before they actually make a move on you, namely because convicting somebody of a crime isn't easy, especially since you have to prove criminality beyond reasonable doubt, and in front of a jury to boot. There is a saying in legal circles – in family law you see people on their worst behaviour, while in criminal law you see them on their best. Yet it also seemed as if charging somebody with an offence wasn't all cut and dry. If you were wrong, then the culprit could then bring a suit against you, and this suit could easily ruin you. Then again, this isn't all that uncommon because a similar thing happened in Athens as well. Mind you, like today, to have the police intervene you do need somebody to press charges (and some cases, not all of them). This is why there is a lot of criminality that doesn't get reported, because the victim doesn't want to make a complaint. However, this reciprocity does prevent people from making frivolous law suits, or making frivolous complaints, or even complaints against the wrong person, because if you are wrong it can come back and bite you, and bite you quite hard at that.

  • J.
    2019-04-12 22:11

    " ... my pride, not my principle, my money, not my virtue, kept me honest... "The copy of Moll Flanders that I read --a Modern Library issue, from 1985-- has the most perfect rendition of the heroine I have seen. A library copy and purely a random chance, but there she is--in wood-cut, in all her disheveled, coarsely hedonistic splendor. One high-buttoned boot hooked up high on the arm of some couch, Moll Flanders, consummate whore. Or hussy, or harlot, or maybe floozy, but it is most often as "whore" that she describes herself in the book. Legs akimbo, petticoats raked up above the knee, torso slunk back into a chaise curtained away from the too-inquisitive glance, there she sits, or slinks. A drink in one hand and the other somewhere south of that, having just wrested up the skirts to focus the mind of the onlooker, a haughty wench. Sensual lips and dreamy, soporific eyelids say indiscriminate promiscuity, abandon. And that brings us to the peculiar nature of the book. Meant in one way to appear as a cautionary tale, that idea clearly got lost in the early going, and the theme exists now as a parable of playing the odds with one's own moral compass. What might have begun as using taboo and shame as a commercial draw for a book (that generally would proceed from lusty jeopardy to regret and repentance, ala Pamela or similar)-- seems to have gone toward something darker, or maybe more concise-- a blithe disregard for moral lines and boundaries. Peculiar also because, well, Defoe was more than 60 when he wrote this, anonymously, and it spares pretty much no category, in an early 18th century sort of way, of female sexual experience, from exploration to solicitation, to childbirth and further complexities. And that's a kind of a weird mindset for a sixty year old male-- an already successful novelist, having penned Robinson Crusoe by then- to want to inhabit. Moll isn't sexy, and she's not even coldly calculating; she is enthusiastically, relentlessly calculating. Any given page stands the chance of having an actual pounds and shillings accounting, for those interested in following the ongoing balance. Speaking of time, for Defoe time is always a flirtation with eternity. Every consideration, every proposition that comes along must be subjected to Defoe's triangulating, dithering, re-litigating scrutiny until the reader wishes that Moll would do anything, rash or considered, just to get out of that paragraph. More than a period affectation, Defoe is really transfixed by his own ability to recant the same situation in every degree possible and then repeat the process. Surely this was written for the penny-dreadful marketplace, but really-- pace must have mattered, even there..? "...being now, as it were, a woman of fortune though I was a woman without a fortune, I expected something or other might happen in my way that might mend my circumstances, as had been my case before... Bath is a place of gallantry enough; expensive and full of snares. I went thither, indeed, in the view of taking anything that might offer, but I must do myself justice, as to protest I knew nothing amiss; I meant nothing but in an honest way, nor had I any thoughts about me at first that looked the way which afterwards I suffered them to be guided. Here I stayed the whole latter season, as it is called there, and contracted some unhappy acquaintances, which rather prompted the follies I fell afterwards into, than fortified me against them..." An interesting aspect of the book is the treatment of criminals being 'transported' for their crimes to the colonies; some unseen true-to-period ironies there. Still, while we're on the quibbles, there is much missing from this picture, detail and atmosphere aren't really served in any substantial sense, perhaps like many pulp efforts. Strangely there are no chapters or breaks in the book, and many many characters go unnamed. Children, husbands, protectors and antagonists must be remembered only as generic cogs in the storyline; this seems way too much the Allegory treatment, considering the flaws in the equation. One more great white lie to be gotten out of the way before we conclude. For some reason Moll Flanders seems to enjoy this 'foundational feminist document' status in literature; not so much for the outcome, or even the wisdom of the proceedings, but for the fact that a female is seen to be exerting some control for once. But Defoe is an odd man, writing an odd book, at once exploitative, presumably profitable, anonymous and free of any responsibility for the outward ripple of feminine blameworthiness and culpability that it certainly narrates. The character of Moll Flanders is devious and mean-spirited; her actions are a carefully crafted disguise of commission and omission always meant to set her at a safe remove from discovery. As readers we are deceived by the nearness of the narration, the page-to-page trial and danger that Moll must endure, in her chosen vocation. Which is to say pickpocket, shakedown artist, confidence-woman, whore and liar. Very much the opposite of the true innocent, the agreeably amiable mistress of the fortuitous bluff or timely wink that she'd like to have us believe in.Defoe's thesis, that life is always brutal, always extracts innocence, forces guile, and proceeds toward cataclysm -- comes down to a simple summation. And that is, basically: getting over, and not getting caught. Even for a penny-dreadful, that's really not much of a resolution. The book lurches directly for disaster, but in the spirit of all such tales, ends on a sunny, happy note. WTF. Moll Flanders, you are no Molly Bloom, girl.

  • Daniel
    2019-03-27 19:57

    Despite being one of the earliest English novels, and thus from a time incredibly different from our own, Daniel Defoe's "Moll Flanders" sucked me into its world far more readily than I expected it to. I attribute this mostly to the voice of Moll Flanders herself, who is so good natured, and so ready to make the best of whatever situation she finds herself in, it'd be hard not to become enamored of her. Because Moll's society is so far removed from ours -- the book was written in 1722 -- and because so much of what she encounters and how she lives her life are completely of their time, without her charming, winning view of the world, "Moll Flanders" would surely be almost impossible to enjoy today.That's not to say some parts of Defoe's book don't make a modern reader cringe. The births of most of Moll's children are mentioned only in passing, as are many of their deaths. Even the least impressive of Moll's later crimes, when she eventually turns to a life of thievery, are given more space in the book than are most of her children's births. I imagine Moll's casualness about her children's births and deaths is due in part to the mortality rate being so much higher back then, and perhaps part of it is because Defoe, despite admirably taking on the viewpoint of a woman, was still in the end a man -- and a man of his time, not of ours.While little of "Moll Flanders"'s story is anything but fascinating, perhaps most worthy of further consideration after finishing the book is Moll's penitence both at Newgate and in America. It's hard to know exactly how sincere that penitence is when, at Newgate, she's not allowed to continue her thievery anyhow, as Moll herself admits, and in America she no longer needs to commit crimes to survive. (By the same token, though, Moll turns to a life of crime in the first place only because she sees doing so as the only way to survive, not because she is a person particularly prone to thievery. That's not to say, of course, that she doesn't enjoy her stealing quite a bit while she's doing it.)I decided to read "Moll Flanders" because it received such high praise from E.M. Forster in his "Aspects of the Novel," and it's easy to see why it did. Plus, how could any American reader not have at least some fondness for a novel in which one of the main characters -- an Englishman, naturally -- wants to choose death by hanging over having to live in America?

  • Sarah Mac
    2019-04-11 21:54

    Here's the thing, y'all. I'm not afraid to enjoy old books, wordy prose, or unlikable protagonists. The Mysteries of Udolpho. Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Zofloya. The Turn of the Screw. Madame Bovary. Cecilia. The Innocents Abroad. These are some old books I've loved. Wordy prose, block paragraphs, old-fashioned language -- they're the type of read that some people won't touch with a ten-foot pole. But this one? Spare me. It's boring. It's overwritten. It's tedious. The prose is lifeless & drowns Moll's supposed antics in a mire of verbal sludge. "Things are doing things," as they say on MST3K -- things which, in Moll's case, should provide interesting reading. But the aforementioned lifeless prose sucks the (potential) fun from her story, reducing it to...A classic.Or so they say. *I* say that just because something is old & has managed to survive the eons doesn't make it a good read.While I appreciate that modern English prose wouldn't exist without late-1600s/early-1700s founding fathers -- Daniel Defoe included -- that doesn't change the fact that our language, mode of thought, & "low prose" has altered since these guys were churning out their long-winded wordsmith'ry. And that's okay. The world isn't ending because schoolkids fail to find anything titillating about the bloated verbal mire that is Moll Flanders. But despite several assertions in the (obnoxious) afterword,** I believe it's perfectly legit to stand up & say "Yeah, it's on the 1001 Books list. It's also BORING AS BATSHIT." Sometimes it's best to let things fade into the obscurity of in-depth college courses. Let's hope they won't push Dan Brown on required reading lists in the year 2415 just because The DaVinci Code was so controversial & yet survived countless reprints.**"Writers like [Defoe] are absolutely essential to the life of the language. Without them it sickens and dies, eaten to death by orchids, plucked to pieces by ducks, and gnawed into dust by termites." [-Kenneth Rexroth, afterword to the 1981 Signet edition]...Mighty strong words, milord.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-10 19:13

    Moll Flanders first and formost challenges ones conception of right and wrong. Do the ends (survival) justify the means (whatever deception or crime it takes to secure it). In the past, I have always been one to argue, emphatically, that no, there is no such thing as situational ethics. Yet, as I read this book, i realized that my thoughts on this came from a life of ease, in a society of justice and equal oportunity. I am left thanking God that I was not a woman, especially one fallen on hard times, in the time and place that this book was written. Time after time Moll is faced with the dilema: a life of misery and starvation, or a dishonest act that will pull her through a little while longer. I find it hard to cast judgement on any of the choices she made under these circumstances; and impossible to swear that I would not be brought to the same decisions. The only thing that I cannot justify in her behavior is the total disregard for her children that is displayed. Not enough mention of her children was made for me to even remember how many she bore. Part of this I am going to attribute the the fact that the book was written by a man. If her strivings were for herself and her children, I would cast no blame on a single choice she made, yet she even, essentially abandoned one of her infants in order to care for herself. [return][return]Overall, a very engaging read, giving insight into the life of women in 18th century England; So believable that I find I almost think of it as a memoir.

  • Beth
    2019-04-02 22:58

    This is the Diary of a penitent Sinner. We know she was Penitent because she tells Us repeatedly, despite the fact that she continues to Sin with a Reckless abandonment that should be Enjoyable but is not, Really. She essentially Runs around London prostituting herself for Around forty years, and stealing from people, insisting that she feels Bad while showing no evidence of feeling so. There is some Enjoyment to be had in its depiction of the completely Unstoppable "Mrs. Flanders" (not her Real name and, no, Mara Dyer fans, you don't find out what her real Name is, either). Nothing puts a dent in this Woman, whether it's being Seduced, stolen from, forced into marriage, Impregnated, bankrupted, Arrested, caught out in her various misbehaviours. I'm making this sound fun - it's not Fun. It's written Like This, for one, and there are also no paragraph breaks. Or very few. You will wonder if Daniel Defoe's Caps Lock AND his space bar were both Broken, and his creativity and source of literary talent. It's just dull. Somehow a story of a woman who Spends her whole life Cheating people, being cheated, and Spectacularly worming her way out of every single Nightmare that befalls her with a steely determination and only occasional Fainting fits can be dull. I don't understand it Either.

  • Noelia Alonso
    2019-04-12 22:49

    Words cannot express how happy I am I'm finally able to throw this book aside to never pick it up again. Nothing of this novel worked for me, starting with the odd writing style. It was painful and more often than not I had to put it down because it was giving me headaches. The narrator, Moll, didn't work to help the story either. Moll Flanders was a torture and I don't care why it is still studied today. My feelings won't change.

  • Alina
    2019-03-28 20:51

    I enjoyed the last part most. 50-year-old extraordinarily skilled/lucky con-woman working in late 17th century London? Yes please. That said, I wasn't a fan of the writing style (although I grew used to it.) It oftentimes reads more like a summary than a novel, neglecting the fleshing out of setting and characters almost entirely. (I guess this stood out to me in particular since I read this right after Jane Eyre.)

  • Markus
    2019-04-02 16:59

    Moll FlandersDaniel Defoe (1660-1731)“Robinson Crusoe” published in 1719 brought Daniel Defoe instant fame.In 1722 he published Moll Flanders.The author made believe that this novel, like Robinson Crusoe, was based on real life and told by the adventurer himself, or adventuress in the case of Moll Flanders. Therefore the story is written in the first person, in the language of the early eighteenth century. The first part of the novel, when Moll is telling about her very young childhood, as a little girl brought up by a government-appointed nanny, is the most tender and emotional part and maybe the most beautiful of the whole book. The girl has almost no religious education and has no inhibitions as far as virginal virtues are concerned. She knows, however, that if she wanted to avoid becoming a service girl at the age of eight and later a maid, she could achieve her aims only with money.She, therefore, had throughout her life, an intense obsession with money and how to get it, and how to recover it when you have lost it. In the following chapters, she tells us of her adventures of several marriages, some successful some failed, with husbands that had died and others that were on the run from the law. She had numerous children, I lost the count of them, but except for one boy only, the story does not tell of what had become of all the other children. The prevailing social system of the time seems to have unwanted children mostly handed to paid nannies, and this is a reason why I started having less sympathy for the adventuress.Further down the road of her destiny, Moll Flanders, having lost her last husband and was stranded in extreme poverty, becomes a thief. And due to her beauty and smartness, she develops her new trade over many years and with great success. However, the jar goes to the fountain until it breaks, in the end, she gets caught and jailed in the infamous Newgate jail of London and condemned to death by hanging. By a last-minute miracle, her condemnation is transformed into exile; she is to be sold as a slave in Virginia. Her excellent sense of business and her secret fortune from previous activities, bring success to this new challenge, and instead of slave, she becomes a Tabaco Planter, and in her old days returns to London to retire peacefully. The story's background is not as uniquely original as ‘Robinson Crusoe,' and therefore not apage-turner, but still is a testimony to English society, its rules, and behaviours at different social levels at the early eighteenth century, and therefore for me historically interesting.

  • Sarah Anne
    2019-04-14 16:58

    This was a fun and funny story. Moll is an interesting character because she starts out conventionally and then heads down a less moral path early on, slowly picking up speed along the way. Her tales are sometimes so outlandish (Oops! I married my own brother!) that it's hard to believe that this could all happen to one person. Perhaps it isn't so outlandish when you consider that the book covered nearly 70 years.I got many, many laughs out of this book, but I also thought it was remarkable in a couple of other ways. One is that it shows how quickly you can pick up speed once you start to slip off the path of making the moral decision. The other is that for all that Moll's life was so unusual, you never get the sense that she longs for a different life. It's more of an "it is what it is" mentality.Moll was a remarkable character and this was such a fun book.

  • Milena
    2019-04-02 16:11

    Koliko je u svom pionirstvu veliki ovaj roman, toliko je maestralan prevod Borivoja Nedića iz 1960. godine.Volela bih da sam pročitala ovaj roman pre nego što sam imala prilike da stanem pred grob ovog čoveka pre nekoliko godina, ali recimo da mu ni ovako nisam ostala dužna u iskazivanju poštovanja. :-) Defoe rules! :-P

  • Andrea
    2019-03-22 20:51

    Read for my Classics Bingo Challenge.Here's the thing. I didn't like Robinson Crusoe. But I figured I'd give Defoe another chance because the synopsis of this sounds really interesting: Moll is a liar, a whore, a thief, a bigamist, AND she marries her brother and has his babies at some point. Sure sounded like fun. But honestly, to me, this read like a LONG list of "interesting" things that were then crammed into one book. Like "mh, what other despicable thing can I have my heroine do...". I didn't really feel connected to it, because it was just one thing after another. She abandons children left and right, marries and manipulates a bunch of men, and none of it ever felt real or interesting to me. Her penitence in the end didn't really convince me because basically, she finally gets her hands on enough money for her to enjoy life and only then realizes what she's done? Mh. Not sure what sort of message that sends. That you can only be a good person if you have money? Anyways. This made my head hurt too much to make me want to think about stuff like that. Moving on to more interesting things now...

  • Zozetta
    2019-03-23 21:57

    3/3.5Ψάχνοντας να διαβάσω ένα βιβλίο γραμμένο πριν το 1850 για το readathon16, έπεσα πάνω σε αυτό το βιβλίο του Daniel Defoe του οποίου είχα διαβάσει τον Ροβινσώνα Κρούσο μόνο. Αποφάσισα να το διαβάσω λοιπόν λόγω του συγγραφέα. Η Moll Flanders γράφτηκε το 1683 και πρέπει κανείς να το λάβει σοβαρά υπόψη αυτό πριν κάνει κάποια κριτική γιατί με τα σημερινά δεδομένα μάλλον μοιάζει με βιβλίο παρωχημένο τόσο θεματικά όσο και συγγραφικά. Θα το αδικούσε όμως κάποιος έτσι.Πρόκειται για την ιστορία μιας γυναίκας με άτυχο ξεκίνημα μιας και γεννήθηκε στη φυλακή και αμέσως μετά παραδόθηκε από την Πρόνοια σε μια άλλη γυναίκα να το μεγαλώσει, ενώ η δική της μητέρα καταδικάσθηκε σε εξορία στην Αμερική. Δεν θα περιγράψω τις περιπέτειες της Moll Flanders γιατί δεν θέλω να το χαλάσω σε κάποιον/α που τυχόν αποφασίσει να το διαβάσει. Θα πω μόνο πως μετά από πολλά σκαμπανεβάσματα της τύχης καταλήγει να βρει την ηρεμία και την ευτυχία σε μεγάλη ηλικία.Αυτό που μπορώ να πω όμως είναι ότι η ηρωίδα του βιβλίου είναι μια γυναίκα που θα μπορούσε να χαρακτηριστεί σαν επαναστάτρια της εποχής αφού οι απόψεις της για τη θέση της γυναίκας σε μια κοινωνία ανδροκρατούμενη δεν συμφωνούν με τις απόψεις των πολλών. Η γυναίκα εκείνης της εποχής για να έχει "καλή τύχη", δηλαδή να κάνει ένα καλό γάμο, έπρεπε να έχει κάποια χρήματα αλλιώς όσο όμορφη, έξυπνη, καλλιεργημένη κλπ να ήταν θα κατέληγε είτε στο πτωχοκομείο είτε στη πορνεία και τη κλεψιά. Η Moll ακολούθησε το δικό της δρόμο, με τους δικούς της ηθικούς κανόνες και ήταν ένα κράμα τυχοδιώκτισας και σουφραζέτας με τον τρόπο της.Ο Defoe έγραψε ουσιαστικά ένα βιβλίο καταγγελία για τη φτώχια και την ανισότητα και τις συνέπειές τους. Περιγράφει πολύ ωραία τις κοινωνικές συνθήκες της εποχής εκμεταλλευόμενος την πραγματική ιστορία μιας γυναίκας ονόματι Elizabeth Adkins η οποία ήταν περισσότερο γνωστή με το όνομα Moll King. Εκείνο που μου άρεσε ιδιαίτερα ήταν το γεγονός ότι απέφυγε το μελόδραμα ενώ η ιστορία της εύκολα θα μπορούσε να καταλήξει έτσι. Η ίδια η ηρωίδα αφηγείται τη ζωή της με χιούμορ, έξυπνους διαλόγους πολλές φορές και ατίθασο πνεύμα. Αρνείται να δεχτεί τη μοίρα της και προσπαθεί με όποιο μέσο, τίμιο ή όχι, να ορίσει αυτή τη ζωή της.