In his preface to Moll Flanders, Defoe states that his intention is to convey a serious moral. Yet, explicit moralizing is notable by its absence in the relating of Moll's bawdy, picaresque adventures. Right throughout the story, Moll becomes caught up in all manner of escapades, none of which are in any way illustrative of the Christian moral life.
Moll is a serial thief and prostitute; worse still, from a moral point of view, she is an unrepentant serial thief and prostitute. Yet she does live by a moral code of sorts, often trying to rationalize her socially unacceptable behavior.
For instance, after she's robbed a drunken rich man she's just slept with, she convinces herself that perhaps the experience will prove instructive to the...
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