Moll Flanders and Colonel Jack

Essay by jessdoddB-, October 2014

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Jessica Dodd


Moll Flanders and Colonel Jack

Daniel Defoe presents in Moll Flanders and Colonel Jack insight that allows us to examine eighteenth century criminal behaviors. Moll Flanders provides the understanding of the classified life of the thieving industry from which Moll has mastered incessantly through her shortcomings and identification issues. Colonel Jack establishes a view into the creative mind of an eighteenth century young male that knows nothing more than how to be a thief because of his unfortunate circumstances. Both Moll Flanders and Colonel Jack have many similarities that could explain the mind of an eighteenth century criminal and how Defoe perceived it.

The development of Moll Flanders begins at Newgate prison with her mother who evidently is a thief. She is pregnant and therefore "pleads the belly", which means that because she was impregnated she would not be punishable by death. With Molls mother being a thief, it is not astonishing that Moll also directs herself towards this lifestyle.

Moll is extremely fixated on the idea of being a "gentlewoman" but essentially does not understand what a "gentlewoman" actually means. She continuously has children with different men, takes money and gets divorced from the countless husbands that she encounters. Greed drives Moll to the moral disintegration that she brings upon herself. She turns to thievery as a survival mechanism and doesn't necessarily see what she is doing as wrong.

Colonel Jack is a young male who was relinquished by the hands of his mother and father. His father paid the nurse to take Jack and raise him to be a "gentleman".

"She (my nurse) had a good piece of money given to her to take me off his hands, and deliver him and my mother from the importunities that usually attend the Misfortune, of having a...