Study Questions for Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders ((1722)
1. What are Moll’s dominant character traits? What motivates her? How does she define herself or construct her identity?
2. How does Moll’s writing style affect our perception of her character?
3. How reliable or believable is Moll as a narrator of her own story? What discrepancies or ironies affect our assessment of her reliability as a narrator?
4. What are Moll’s relationships to men?
5. What are Moll’s relationships to other women?
6. What are Moll’s relationships to children, both her own and others?
7. What is Moll’s relationship to her own sexuality? Is she believable as a woman? How does she view her own body?
8. What is Moll’s relationship to material objects? What role do things play in Moll’s definition of herself?
9. What is Moll’s relationship to money? What role does money play in her self- definition?
10. What are the significant turning points, moments of personal crisis, moments of moral choice in Moll’s life?
11. What patterns or motifs of disguise and distortion of identity does Defoe present in the novel? In what ways do these motifs comment on the nature of human identity?
12. What does the novel say about the nature of the emerging capitalism of early eighteenth-century England and its affect on social relations and human identity?
13. What is the overall shape or structure of the novel? What divisions, rhythms, or
other patterns give it shape and structure?
14. What role does America play in the novel and in Moll’s salvation?
15. How is Newgate prison used symbolically in the novel? What role does it play for Moll’s identity?
Consult the Discussion Questions for Defoe’s Moll Flanders in the Assignments section and post your one-page response to one of them
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