Analyse how Moll Flanders and Evelina portray evolving ideas of femininity in the period as women in a competitive society, relating to their social and economic identities.    

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Moll Flanders and Evelina, from the novel Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World, represent contrasting feminist characters. For one, Moll Flanders is upward mobile, ambitious, and detests the patriarchal limitations placed on women during her time.

She even dislikes the name given to...

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Moll Flanders and Evelina, from the novel Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World, represent contrasting feminist characters. For one, Moll Flanders is upward mobile, ambitious, and detests the patriarchal limitations placed on women during her time.

She even dislikes the name given to her by her criminal associates, Moll Flanders, because "Moll" is a term for female criminals in England and "Flanders" is the term for prostitutes. Before her criminal activities, Moll's ambition was to be come a gentlewoman, which shows her progressive way of thinking in the period.

During her era, it was rare for a woman to be on the same status as gentlemen. These "gentlemen" were usually affluent, highly-educated and sophisticated men from a high social status, such as businessmen and lawyers and politicians. However, this limitation did not dissuade Moll from working hard to rise to the top of the socioeconomic ladder. In essence, Moll represents a member of a minority group trying to attain the American Dream: to secure financial freedom and social power.

Evelina, on the other hand, contradicts the norms of the day, especially regarding women, by simply being "uncultured." When she arrives in London, she is unaware of the social codes and practices of the city's upper-class. In this sense, it is similar to a provincial person being ignorant of the ways of the cosmopolitan.

The similarities in the two characters is that they are both females attempting to construct a life of their own, and in their own terms. In an era when women were dependent on men for survival and security, they took the initiative to create opportunities for themselves instead.

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