Moll Flanders Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How does the novel begin?

An anonymous editor (actually Defoe himself) relates that the book is the story told by Moll Flanders herself.

2. What apology does the editor make about the content of the book?

He suggests it has been cleaned up of some of it lewd content and warns the reader that Moll comes up from a common thief to the position of a lady.

3. What is Defoe's stated purpose in presenting this book?

It is a kind of moral instruction based on the life of Moll Flanders who violates all the moral rules of her day. The editor urges readers to pay attention to the moral rather than the lewd behavior written about in the book.

4. What is the purpose of the preface to Moll Flanders?

The writer wants to give the reader a taste of what will come in the story. It seems to be a means of preparing Edwardian readers for the shocking story to follow.

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