Moll Flanders Study Guide

Moll Flanders Study Guide

Original title:
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders

Until now there are doubts if Daniel Defoe is a real author of Moll Flanders. It was attributed to him by the first editor and bookseller, as a fiction novel, though the story’s narrator is Moll herself and she states that it is a sincere autobiography. It is hard to believe that a person could have such an intense life, but, if it is so, Moll is one of the most extraordinary con artists in the known history.

The story of Moll Flanders (she prefers to use her “stage name” in her gang, thoroughly concealing any references to her real biography) starts quite happily: an orphan, she is raised by a loving and caring stepmother. But the peaceful life isn’t something Moll is ready to be satisfied with. The girl is charming, smart and feminine, so she tries to pass as a lady to find herself a rich husband. It works out well. Several times.

Moll travels around the world, falling in love and marrying out of cold and rational calculations, sometimes simultaneously, giving birth to children and running away from persecution. Some marriages don’t happen or fall apart because of the impossible reasons that can be explained only by her incredibly strange luck. Moll works solo and in a gang, is caught and almost executed, but manages to escape that time too. Incredibly, but despite her pragmatism and cynicism she does have things and people she always is faithful to. Her true love doesn’t resemble a traditional marriage at all, but Moll manages to preserve it through all the years and misfortunes. Even knowing that she is a criminal and con artist, we sincerely wish her luck through all her adventures and are genuinely satisfied when Moll, in her late age, finally gets some rest, financial stability and personal happiness. It is never too late for her to enjoy a dream she worked so hard and risked everything for during all her life.

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