Homework Help

In "Moll Flanders," why are ladies amused by Moll's desire to be a "gentlewoman?"

user profile pic

alexandrea18 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 12, 2009 at 5:47 AM via web

dislike 1 like

In "Moll Flanders," why are ladies amused by Moll's desire to be a "gentlewoman?"

3 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

podunc | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 13, 2009 at 3:05 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Social status in eighteenth-century England was fixed for the most part, meaning that if one were born in the gentry class or the aristocracy, they would most likely stay there. By the same token, a peasant would never rise to a higher class than the one into which he or she was born. Since Moll was born to a thief in Newgate Prison, the fact that she believes she could ever become a "gentlewoman" is laughable to ladies of the upper classes.

This kind of social stratification is often unfamiliar to contemporary American audiences, since our culture generally believes that a person can raise their social status by gaining weath, working hard, marrying a higher class, etc.

user profile pic

hangaout | Student , Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted April 16, 2010 at 8:54 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

rr

user profile pic

elajmeia | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 8, 2012 at 6:09 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

Because of the class status, for ladies,Moll would not be a gentlewomen.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes