Why does Daniel Defoe dispose of Moll's children so conveniently in Moll Flanders?

Daniel Defoe disposes of Moll's children conveniently for storytelling reasons. If the children had remained in the story, they would've got in the way of Moll's adventures. Also, by showing Moll dumping her kids on her in-laws, Defoe allows us to see what kind of character she is.

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Right from the start, we're left in no doubt that Moll Flanders regards other people as nothing more than commodities. That includes her own children. Some commodities are valuable to her and others aren't. Her children clearly fall into the unimportant category. So she leaves them to be raised by her in-laws while she sets off on her sordid adventures.

Now that Defoe, in the guise of his title character, has disposed of Moll's children, he's now in a position to let his antiheroine provide the reader with a guided tour of London's criminal underworld. As one can imagine, this is a pretty sleazy little world, certainly no place for Moll's children. Moll is a free spirit and simply will not be tied down for any appreciable length of time. If she'd brought her kids along with her, she wouldn't have had the freedom to do what she wanted. To put it crudely, her children would've cramped her style.

Disposing of Moll's kids early on also gives us an insight into her generally unappealing character. A woman who can casually discard her children like so many used tissues is not someone who naturally invites much in the way of sympathy. But at least we know just what kind of character we're dealing with. From now on, Defoe hopes that we will stick with the story even if it's just to see Moll get her comeuppance for being such a greedy, selfish bawd.

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