Moll Flanders: History of Childhood Abandonment

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Moll’s history of childhood abandonment may have led her to the home of the governess, but the person she grew to become while staying there conditioned her to choose her first husband, Robin. “And if a young woman has beauty, birth, breeding, wit, sense, manners, modesty, and all to an stream, yet if she has not money, she’s nobody, (Defoe, 56). Mac Master agrees by writing “From the significant initial episode where the child Moll announces her intention to be ‘a gentlewoman,’ Defoe shows how she learns to associate approbation, hope of success, and all things enjoyable with money. (Mac Master, 132). Considering Moll’s reluctance to marry Robin rather than the eldest brother, it stands to reason why Moll may have began defining love and money as a single unit. The eldest brother was the first person to woo Moll, and he was also the first to pay her for sexual favor. Moll’s confusion would have most keel resulted in a packaged understanding of the two life essentials, and for that reason Moll’s first marriage can easier be instead seen as Moll’s first gesture of self-love.

With a conditioned understanding that sexual love yields money, and money aids in being a gentlewoman; Moll happily saw the act Of marriage as her first stepping stone in becoming a gentlewoman. “I had a most unbounded stock of vanity and pride, and but a very little stock of virtue; I did indeed cast sometimes with myself what my young master aimed at, but thought of nothing, but the fine words, and the gold; (Defoe, 60). R alas, all I understood by being a gentlewoman, was to be able to work for myself, and get enough to keep me without that terrible bug-bear going to (Defoe, 50) ultimately, Moll’s abrasive predisposition following her first marriage was only a result of conditioning herself to value physical goods over genuine love. By marrying Robin, Moll made a move to protect herself against abandonment and financial ruin, unknowingly teaching herself that the fabrication of love will lead you to fortune, while the embrace of genuine love will yield no material value, and thus little success.

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This correlation between Moll’s first marriage, and therefore her first sexual “debut” (Mac Master, 131 ) as an act of self-love could certainly prove to be the basis for a causation for her behavior throughout the remainder of the novel. In this way, Moll only appears to be unlucky and naive, the product of an uneven “equation” (Mac Master, 131).

Even Mac Master sympathizes with Moll, saying that Defoe, in a sense, identified with Moll in that “In Moll’s world survival rather than salvation is the chief end and object of existence; as a Christian and also as an artist he [Defoe] was not unaware of the inglorious displacement of eve by money as man’s operative standard. ” (Mac Master, 131-132). Moll’s initial impression of men as sources of income resonates within the details of her first love affair with Robin’s eldest brother. More specifically, it echoes within her infatuation with money as a supplement of love throughout her first affair.

Mac Master quotes Maximally Novak in compliance with this theory, [pointing] out how ‘much of the humor in this first part of Moll Flanders results from the heroine’s inability to separate her desire for wealth from her love for the heir. ‘” (Mac Master, 133). Moll goes as far as to openly admit her confusion about this same issue on page 59 of Moll Hander’s: “l was more confounded with the money than I was before with the love;” (Defoe). This confusion specifically speaks to the matter of genuine love continuously being associated with financial reward throughout the novel.

The relationship seems to originate from Moll’s childhood, beginning with the Mayors rewarding her with compliments and currency. “She has a gentlewoman’s hand, says she; but Mrs… Mayors did not stop there, but giving me my work again, she put her hand in her pocket, gave me a shilling, and bid me mind my work. ” (Defoe, 50). Moll is only again faced with the supplement of money for love in the newness of her first affair with the eldest brother [he professed] a great deal of love for me, but told me that he meant no ill to me; and with that he put five guinea’s into my hand, and went away down stairs. (Defoe, 59). Together, these gratification systems cause Moll to develop a kind of obsession with making money and maintaining financial stability for the sake of her own survival. Between her position in the Chocolates household and her affair with Robin’s brother, Moll surely evolves a concrete opinion of her sources of income, so much so that she begins to consider her alternate source as a requisite for becoming a successful gentlewoman. As for the gold I spent whole hours in looking upon it; I told the guinea’s over and over a thousand times a day: (Defoe, 61).

This is one place in particular where Moll’s slightly sexualities vision of money is present, as well as in other areas of the text preceding this episode (note her detail to attention when counting the guinea’s). Although Moll never plainly expresses her love of money as something that possibly brings her leisure rather than enjoyment, she says it with her words. From the first illustration of child Moll’s encounter with money as reward, she’s using intimate language as an expressive outlet (For instance, Moll tells readers that she refers to her nurse as my mistress nurse (Defoe) on page 50.

Defoe (whether intentional or not so) offers foreshadowing upon Moll’s moving into the Mayors’ home as Moll is describing the duties expected of her but [l] was Very willing to be a servant, and that any kind Of servant they thought fit to have me be. ” (Defoe, 54). Mac Master aids in proving the existence of this foreshadowing through speaking of Moll’s affair with the eldest Chocolates brother as an act of transaction rather than love “By the time the affair is consummated, money has become not so much the proof of love as the thing itself.

Their lovemaking is virtually an act of purchase. ” (Mac Master, 133). Mac Master also draws a similar opinion on a significant scene in which Moll is given the silk purse. “My color came, and went, at the sight of the purse, and with the fire of his proposal together; so that I could not say a word, and he easily perceived it; so outing the purse into my bosom, made no more resistance to him, but let him do just what he pleased; and as often as he pleased; (Defoe, 64) Mac Master states: “The Silk purse itself seems to stir Moll to sexual excitement: (133).

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Moll Flanders: History of Childhood Abandonment. (2018, Mar 26). Retrieved from

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