Daniel Defoe Writing Styles in Moll Flanders

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Picaresque Novel

Moll Flanders

is considered an example of a picaresque novel. These novels usually employ a first-person narrator recounting the adventures of a scoundrel or low-class adventurer who moves from place to place and from one social environment to another in an effort to survive. The construction of these novels, like that of Moll Flanders, is typically episodic, and the hero or heroine is a cynical and amoral rascal who lives by his or her wits.

Point-of-View

Defoe wrote the novel in the first person, with Moll telling the story of her life. This form brings Moll close to readers, as if she is speaking directly to them. As well, Moll tells her story from the vantage point of being nearly seventy years old and being, purportedly, repentant. She pauses occa- sionally in the action to speak from her position as a penitent seventy-year-old and cautions about particular...

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Moll Flanders from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.