In Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders, what type of crime and criminals is Defoe interested in?
Daniel Defoe’s novel The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, commonly referenced as simply Moll Flanders, tells the story of a woman born in Newgate Prison – her mother having been convicted of petty theft – determined to rise above her lot in life in the rigid society of Great Britain. Moll, a term associated with the girlfriends of gangsters, may seem to be condemned to a life of poverty and servitude at the behest of others, but she is smart and committed to extricating herself from the otherwise inevitable morass into which she was born. Unfortunately, the only real avenue available to a woman of the lower caste is crime or prostitution – the profession from which her surname, Flanders, is derived. Defoe’s protagonist/narrator chooses to remain anonymous given the sordid details of her life, so she remains somewhat content to be known by the moniker of Moll Flanders (“this famous Moll Flanders, as she calls herself”).
Defoe’s narrator, Moll, is...
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