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Moll Flanders Sinner or Saint There are many reasons why Daniel Defoes classic novel Moll Flanders is still studied today One of the reasons that it is still so widely studied is that there are significant reasons to doubt the sincerity of Molls repentance at the end of the novel Her conversion is attained rather easily perhaps too easily Moll herself is supposed to be narrating this text after her conversion yet her newfound morality is not apparent in her discourse It seems at times that Moll is telling this story to entertain her audience rather than reform them However she repeatedly claims to be warning the readers of the horrors of criminal life This claim appears at several points over the course of the novel but it is more concentrated during the preface the opening and after Molls conversion By connecting clues offered at the novels beginning with evidence found after Molls supposed repentance one can find significant reason to question the sincerity of Molls repentance Defoe offers many clues about how to read this book in the preface The preface suggests that this book is supposed to be a moral text yet it also hints that morality could be a shroud under which a smutty novel is hidden First Defoe indicates that this novel strives to be different from less reputable fiction Defoe states The World is so taken up of late with Novels and Romances that it will be hard for a private History to be taken for genuine Defoe 37 Indeed in his essay Moll Flanders Crime and Comfort Ian A Bell suggests that Defoe wanted to be seen as a pure hard-working editor rather than the reprehensible vendor of filth Bell 121 Furthermore Defoe hopes that Readers will be more pleased with the Moral than the Fable Defoe 38 These statements suggest that he does not want Moll Flanders to be seen as lowbrow smutty entertainment It
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