Truly, in Moll Flanders, money makes the world go around. Hardly a page goes by in the novel without a mention of money. Moll’s money worries begin at the age of eight when Moll must figure out a way to avoid being placed in servitude. To do this, she tells the nurse who has taken her in that she can work, and that eventually she will earn her own way in the world. When the nurse expresses doubt that Moll can really earn her keep, Moll responds, “I will work harder, says I, and you shall have it all.”
Though Moll is easily flattered by men commenting on her beauty, she is even more flattered at their attentions if the men are wealthy. When she and the elder brother are discussing their future, he shows her a purse full of coins that he claims he will give her every year until they are married, in essence for remaining his mistress. Moll’s “colour came and went, at the sight of the purse,” and at the thought of the money he had promised her.
Moll complains after the death of her first husband that no one in the city appreciates a beautiful, well-mannered woman, and that the only thing a man is looking for in a wife is her ability to bring money into the relationship. She notes that “money only made a woman agreeable” when she wanted to become a wife, and that only whores and mistresses are chosen because of their personal and physical qualities—and, of course, these relationships are built upon money,...
(The entire section is 1548 words.)
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