Crime in The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoes

Crime in The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoes

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​Crime has been something that has plagued us as a species since we started walking the Earth. Although it didn’t create a face for itself until the Eighteenth-Century when there became a split in economic identity, as well as a separation in gender. In Daniel Defoe’s “The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders,” the central female character, is driven by a lust to rise above what she has been born into, but through a series of unfortunate events and gender norm, she is forced to step out of social norms to achieve the life that she believes that she deserves. Defoe’s main protagonist shows what the struggle for a women who fights to step out of the economic boundaries and gender stereotype of Eighteenth-Century England.
​Daniel Defoe’s “The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders” is the perfect example of someone who was born in the worst possible situation for a women in Eighteen-Century England. Being born to a mother who she will never meet, because her “mother was convicted of felony for a certain petty theft scarce worth naming, viz” (Defoe 4), after she is released from prison, she leaves for America. Born into a world where the power of your family determines your future, Moll Flanders never met her mother or father, she was an orphan, “victims of negligent parents or parents whose health or lack of skills kept them from earning sufficient income to care for a family” (Reed). Children during the Eighteenth-Century who were born without parents or a guardian of any sort, were often forced into child labor. Defoe’s Moll Flanders was lucky enough to not be forced into child labor, “I was too young to do any work, being not above three years old, passion moved the magistrates of the town to order some c...


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... life until she is swept up into another school where she learns more skills. In this school, she meets the man who will take her virginity. “The lady in the house where I was had two sons, young gentlemen of very promising parts and extraordinary behavior” (Defoe 9). Being trained in various skills around the house, and the new skills she has acquired during the stay at the new school has made her very desirable to both of these brothers. The eldest made his move on her and eventually taking her virginity. After he seduces her, he abandons her, she is compelled to marry his brother; he soon dies after a few short years. She is left on the streets again, she must find a way to survive. She lacks skills to work in a factory and make a decent wage to survive on, she must marry again. But who would want a woman who has already been made into a widow at such a young age?

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