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A Critical Analysis

This paper intends to analyze Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders written in 1722 to discuss the trends within that century. It also aims to discuss the use of symbolism as a literary device used by Defoe in emphasizing his theme. Moll Flanders is a novel of morality. It is an expose on the sufferings of the people in lower class of the society who wallow in extreme poverty while others live lavishly and capriciously with their glittering gold.

It is a picaresque that employed a rogue character to symbolize the lower class that have to withstand the vanity and insensitivity of the rich and wealthy class: “I observed the biggest had a fine gold watch on, and a good necklace of pearl, and they had a footman in livery with them” (Defoe, 1722, Chap. 52). The novel speaks of the ills of the century. The poor struggle to rise up from their deprivation and resort to prostitution, adultery, and incest relationship. It speaks of the double standard of the society.

It speaks of the oppression of women as they are shaped and domesticated to stay as expected of them in a chauvinistic society: “She bred them up very religiously also being herself a

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very sober pious woman, secondly; very housewifely and clean; and thirdly; very mannerly and with good behavior”(Defoe 2005, p. 5) Deeper analysis of the novel and use of symbols mostly related to money, and riches like gold, contracts, and people as labor, it denotes that the trend of the century is capitalism.

Through the use of symbolism Defoe points to the economic system that institutionalizes division of rich and poor. It denotes that even is such early century the concept of capitalism has already caused the people their dignity and their morality. Through the use of symbolical words Defoe developed his theme– that of the deprivation of the lower class that resulted to criminalities. His use of the words “the fortunes and the misfortunes of the famous” for instance is a very effective expression of what the novel intend to expose to the readers.

Defoe is a genius novelist who even in the early 18th century had already seen the evils of capitalism that oppresses the marginal society. References: Defoe, D. (1722). Moll Flander. Retrieved, October 29, 2008 from http://www. readprint. com/chapter-2297/Daniel-Defoe Defoe, D. Moll Flander. In G. H Maynadier (2005 ed. ) Kessinger Publishing. Retrieved October 29, 2008 from http://books. google. com/books? hl=en&id=QKHPQ 3jxeT4C&dq=moll+flanders&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=0axaUh39PJ&sig=s6ySf72Nbg0jMAETx03Fc0h04Go

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