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Moll Flanders
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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > June 2013 - Moll Flanders

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message 1: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat (katzombie) | 2478 comments Discussion thread for Moll Flanders!

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I've got this one on order from the library - hopefully it will turn up sometime soon.

message 3: by Lori (last edited Jun 01, 2013 10:41AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lori (glitzyrebel) | 433 comments I picked this one up on audio when it was free on last summer. It being one of the June reads will give me a reason to move it to the front of the line and off my to-read list!

It's still available for free if anyone is interested in the audio version.

Anna (annamatsuyama) | 1045 comments I'm currently reading Bluestockings The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education and I read that Daniel Defoe wrote an Essay insisting that women should have the rights for an education.

message 5: by Ava Catherine (last edited Jun 01, 2013 12:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments It has been so many years since I read this one that I am going to have to re-read it in order to discuss it. I do remember liking it.

Marnie (marnie19) | 1994 comments I started the book this morning. It is helpful to me to read the sparks note first and then read the section. I am sure once I get deeper into the book I will pick up the language of the writing. Also- why no chapters?

Jess :) | 248 comments I'm well into the novel and have been enjoying this. I like the style. Sometimes Moll is a bit rambling and this can make for some long passages. In balance though this makes her story seem conversational and I think even more endearing. :)

Marnie (marnie19) | 1994 comments I am further into the book and am starting to like it more. I think it's interesting that there are no names in the book except Moll. I keep reminding myself that this book was written in the early 18th century. Sometimes when I read a book that has been previously banned I can't see why it offended anyone...I'm not having that problem here. I'll just grab my smelling salts and continue reading.

Cherie (crobins0) | 19794 comments LOL!

Michelle Burton (goneabroad71) | 53 comments Just finished this book, and enjoyed it much more than I expected to. Made me glad to have been born a woman in 20th century America, rather than 17th century England! I loved Moll's optimism and resourcesfulness. I loved her advice on how to deal with men. I cheered for her (in spite of myself) through dangers and poverty. In one review I read, someone referred to her as the predecessor of Scarlet O'Hara, the strong, selfish woman who looks out for herself.

A lot of reviewers criticize the book because of the way it deals with her children. They appear, they die or get sent off, all in a sentence or two and then we never hear from/about them again. Some say this is because Defoe is a man trying to write a woman's voice. I think that may be part of it. Infant mortality rates are probably another reason -- women lost babies and children all the time. And it was common in that day and age to give up children you simply couldn't afford to maintain. The fate of the children didn't ruin the book for me the way it seems to have for some reviewers.

All-in-all, I was surprised at how readable this was (lack of chapters aside!). I'm really glad we chose it.

message 11: by Cherie (last edited Jun 12, 2013 05:30PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cherie (crobins0) | 19794 comments I am still slogging my way through Moll Flanders. I am almost at the end. I do not like it any better this time through than I did 2 or 3 summers ago when I bought my Nook and 50 Classic Books. I have never gotten through the two selections that begin with N. I really had forgotten much of it.

Connie - seriously? I can laugh at some of it now, but I really think it is boaring. (view spoiler)

I agree with Michelle, that it is very readable, and I think some of her advice was "good", but overall I do not think she was a very nice person.

message 12: by Ava Catherine (last edited Jun 14, 2013 08:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments Sorry, Cherie. :( I guess I am just weird.

I think Defoe wrote this book because he wanted to spotlight the plight of the poor and the orphans, as well as the penal system in Britain at that time. Many books written at that time have a moral message for the public. Moll is written as a "confessional" or "true crime" novel, which was something new for that time.

It does appear very dated for our time period, but we are fortunate to be modern women with legal rights.

Moll doesn't seem to show much remorse, just regret that she was caught. Her "governess" seems more remorseful. Moll keeps making excuses for her crime sprees.

Jess :) | 248 comments Moll is what I would consider to be "consciously incompetent" with regard to the crime sprees. She knows that she's not always a thief out of necessity, yet she lacks the strength/ willpower / what have you to change.

While some of the circumstances in the novel are far fetched, Moll herself is an incredibly believable character. She is resilient and hopeful. She has values that she will not violate: (view spoiler). Yet, as noted by others, she is deeply flawed. Many of her actions are not consistent with her morals. In short, she is human.

I have empathy for Moll. That's not to say that I approve of her actions or would make the same choices. But dang. She had some tough breaks. And as I have not been through similar hardships, I don't see myself casting any stones at Moll. Perhaps these are the sorts of moral questions that Defoe wanted to highlight in this work. (view spoiler)

Cherie (crobins0) | 19794 comments Nice point, E, about her "conscience", although as to her crimes, she seemed VERY competent. There were things about her that felt very believable. I felt sorry for her too.

Jess :) | 248 comments Oh yeah, Moll certainly knew how to take care of herself! I do agree with the gist of your earlier comment Cherie - Moll could sew, had some money reserves, and was evidently extremely resourceful. It certainly does seem that she could have found a way to make a more legitimate living. But she didn't. In my opinion, this is what makes the story so tragic and leads to much moral ambiguity.

When I call Moll incompetent I mean to say that she wasn't morally "competent". That was perhaps an odd way to phrase things. ;) Some psycho-babble I have read discusses 4 stages of progress; the second stage is called consciously incompetent. Unfortunately Moll seems to be stuck here for most of the novel. She considers many of her own actions to be immoral, yet she keeps traveling the same path. Sad.

Cherie (crobins0) | 19794 comments Yeah, E, but if Defoe did not write her that way, we wouldn't have anything to talk about, huh?

I admire him for writing a story like this, for what ever reason, to moralize, or just sell books. He did a pretty good job getting into her head as a woman.

I did love how devious she could be when going after a husband, to make sure she never told any un-truths. She made sure someone else always did it.

message 17: by Ann (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ann (disciple45) I had to come and read all the comments to see whether or not I should continue to "slog through" this book. It seems that you all enjoyed it to varying degrees and for different reasons. I finally got to page 100 and I've been reading since the first of the month (Toppler excepted) and I don't really find it any more interesting. I will keep going now and hopefully get it done by the end of the month!

message 18: by Cherie (last edited Jun 18, 2013 02:08PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cherie (crobins0) | 19794 comments Ann, I wanted to say something witty about it being a "true crime" novel, like Connie references above, but all I can think of is that it is a crime to make you continue to slog through it. I did it twice (I am a glutton for a challenge) but enjoyment is not an adjective I would assign to MY feelings about the story or reading it.

There are some more interesting things comming up for you, but the last part of the book is stil 'a slog'.

After you are done, you will be able to say that you read this "classic and banned" book and to know who Moll Flanders was if it ever comes up in a trivia quiz.

message 19: by Ann (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ann (disciple45) Cherie wrote: "Ann, I wanted to say something witty about it being a "true crime" novel, like Connie references above, but all I can think of is that it is a crime to make you continue to slog through it. I did ..."
LOL, Cherie! I'm not one for Trivia games since I can't usually remember any trivia! But I will keep going - I just won't read it straight, I'll stick some lighter brighter stuff between slogs and eventually get it finished!

message 20: by Lori (last edited Jun 19, 2013 08:26PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lori (glitzyrebel) | 433 comments The "logic" this woman uses to come to conclusions is insane!!!

@Cherie: There is no way I will ever read this book twice. You must really want a badge!!!!

Cherie (crobins0) | 19794 comments Lori wrote: "The "logic" this woman uses to come to conclusions is insane!!!

@Cherie: There is no way I will ever read this book twice. You must really want a badge!!!!"

The unfortunate truth of it is that I had really forgotten that I had read it, Lori. I have done A LOT of reading over the last three years since I bought my Nook and maybe it is short term memory loss, but some books are just more memorable than others. I swear I did not recognize the story until she was on her third husband and was talking to his mother before I realized that I knew.

message 22: by Lori (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lori (glitzyrebel) | 433 comments Cherie wrote: "Lori wrote: "The "logic" this woman uses to come to conclusions is insane!!!

@Cherie: There is no way I will ever read this book twice. You must really want a badge!!!!"

The unfortunate truth o..."

Actually, I can see how that would happen with this book. Because when you really tire of hearing something--even in reading--you mentally just shut it out. I can remember doing that in school. Reading chapters out of some book and then realizing that I had no idea what I just read even though I had just read every word!!

My husband bought me a Nook for Christmas year before last. I didn't know I wanted one--if he had told me he was going to get it I would have told him I didn't want one. But, I have enjoyed it and I've gone from reading maybe 6 books a year to having a goal of 75 this year!!

message 23: by Ann (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ann (disciple45) I'm still slogging through it! I read a little bit every day in between other books so I don't get too bothered by it. I am determined to finish it by the end of the month! I like the story well enough, I think it is really the language that is dragging me down. It's like reading in a foreign language - I have to translate as I go along!

message 24: by Almeta (last edited Jun 28, 2013 05:44AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 10088 comments I read this book during the Toppler, so didn't pause to make comments.

I didn't like it at all in the beginning, but warmed to it as time went on.

I found it hard to imagine abandoning children so easily. To my mind this could only have been done by not having any participation in raising them. I don't picture a child not becoming endearing to a mother, once she has begun to raise it. Pass the children out of sight and to the care of another, then you can ignore their existence.

The plight of limited rights for women during this time, is successfully driven home. Surely unmarried women had some recourse for making a living then, albeit a humble one. Did society doom every spinster to become a trollop to survive?

I think Moll was lazy not to have used her sewing skills. The excitement of duping men and committing crimes sometimes seemed to be a hobby with Moll, rather than a necessity.

Moll cleverly slept her way to the top and eventually ran out of charm.

Cherie (crobins0) | 19794 comments It is really hard to comprehend the way society was back then, isn't it?

Jess :) | 248 comments Saying that Moll "slept her way to the top" is a bit harsh. For all her faults, she was faithful to her husbands. (view spoiler) And were it not for these misfortunes, her story may have been a very boring one indeed. ;)

message 27: by Esther (new)

Esther  (estame) | 467 comments Almeta wrote: "I read this book during the Toppler, so didn't pause to make comments.

I didn't like it at all in the beginning, but warmed to it as time went on.

I found it hard to imagine abandoning children s..."

I read it during the Toppler and I had very mixed feelings towards Moll. Initially I was endeared towards her because of her struggles but I then found her more and more difficult to like because she kept taking the "easy" option. Of course this was the way Defoe wanted to depict her; without these dubious decisions there would have been little to write about.
I was concern I was going to have to wade through this one, but I was pleasantly surprised at how accessible it was.
I wish I hadn't stopped caring about her before the end though.

message 28: by AmyK (new)

AmyK (yakyma) | 1043 comments I think I have all the badges posted for June's group read. If I missed you or messed up let me know!

message 29: by [deleted user] (new)


I had to read this one for school, but it is not one I would pick up on my own volition. I liked it well enough, and so would read more by Daniel Defoe. It's not a favourite though.

Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) | 7 comments I read this one a long time ago, and I thought it was okay. Nothing special, but not a total drag either.

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