Moll Flanders Questions and Answers
by Daniel Defoe

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

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In a poignant scene early in the novel, Moll, who was born in prison and is poor, learns from her nurse that now that she is eight, she will be put out to service. This means she will have to become a servant in somebody's household. This idea frightens her, and she starts to cry. When her nurse asks why she is sobbing, Moll says:

. . . if I can't do it they will beat me, and the maids will beat me to make me do great work, and I am but a little girl and I can't do it.

The nurse then asks, mockingly, if she wants to become a gentlewoman. Moll says yes, and the "old gentlewoman" laughs at her and asks her how she is going to accomplish that feat? She is laughed at by the nurse and others because she is so poor and has no connections to help her out. She needs to start supporting herself, because in that society, nobody felt obligated to feed even a child of eight who...

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elajmeia | Student

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

hangaout | Student

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