Possibly the first novel in the English language, Moll Flanders is the fictional autobiography of a delightfully scandalous young female rogue. Born in Newgate Prison in seventeenth-century England, Moll is predestined to poverty and lawlessness, yet relentlessly driven to overcome her fate. Donning whatever mask suits her best in the moment, she appraises theft, prostitution, and bigamy only in terms of their profit potential, her indomitable will undaunted by her bad luck. Eventually, however, a moral sense begins to intrude.
Defoe creates a narrative that brilliantly commentates on morality and self-reliance within the period in which it is set.
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