Moll Flanders Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Moll Flanders

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders is a tale that if Moll were alive today, she would probably be a guest on Jerry Springer. Moll's struggles include orphaned at an early age, made a servant, a mistress, prostitution, a thief, becoming a mother (but shows poor plotting by Dafoe, since some children seem to just disappear for the sake of story), dabbling with lesbianism, imprisoned and banished to the Americas, incest and a happy ending. Entertaining and enlightening, Moll Flanders is a funny romp through the life of a greedy survivor during 17th century England.
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The review of this Book prepared by Kathleen

One of the greatest books ever written, and one of the most misunderstood. On the surface, it's a story about one woman's questionable struggle for survival in a brutal world--what people usually focus on. But beneath the surface, it's an indictment against civilizing living, an indictment against humanity's denouncement of agrarianism in favor of industrialization, in favor of capitalism. Would Moll Flanders have to prostitute herself for money to eat, have to steal, if fruit-bearing trees grew all around her in the civilized jungle instead of buildings? And yet she is a paradoxical product of that civilized nightmare, and can no more escape her civilized roots than she can escape the planet: those roots must feed her, even while they are killing her.
The review of this Book prepared by Fran Upman

Chapter Analysis of Moll Flanders

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Political/social activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   general liberal/left wing activism    -   women fighting for rights    -   fighting discrim. (other than racial/gender) Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story    -   making "Ends Meat" by prostitution Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book) Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   conman stealing/fraud    -   criminal becomes sensitive Kind of sex:    -   incest Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Loss of...    -   parents Taboo sex story?    -   Yes Love problems?    -   lesbianism!!!! Married, fooling around?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   thief/con artist    -   prostitute Age:    -   20's-30's    -   long lived adults Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Water?    -   Yes City?    -   Yes City:    -   dangerous Small town?    -   Yes Misc setting    -   prison    -   sewers/subways

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Daniel Defoe Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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