Psychological And Presentational Realism In Moll Flanders By Daniel Defoe

1717 words - 7 pages

Psychological and Presentational Realism in Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

The Eighteenth-century literature is popular for its peculiar style of writing that gives the readers an insider’s view in the novel. By combining the two aspects such as Psychological and Presentational Realism, authors have created works of pure masterpiece such as Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe. Defoe illustrates Moll, the protagonist’s psyche by writing the narrative in the first person to imply it as an autobiography. This allows psychological realism to work at its finest since the readers can feel a personal relationship to the character. The two important instances that occur with this type of realism are when Moll realizes that she is married to her own brother and her meeting with Humphrey, her son. In addition, Defoe also uses Presentational Realism to describe Moll’s initial career as thief with her first episode at the apothecary’s shop and later stealing a gold necklace from a child. The manner in which the setting is described gives the readers a sense of feeling of being there and at the same time experiencing her escape from the scene.

Amongst Moll’s several relationships, she is married to a plantation owner, who owns property and has mother and a sister in America. The couple decides to move to Virginia to be with the family (Defoe 77). Moll’s describes that she lives in marital bliss and also enjoys the company of her mother-in-law. She exclaims “…I thought of myself the happiest creature alive…” until her world is shattered as she portrays herself being “…most uncomfortable in the world” (78). As she is listening to the story of her mother-in-law being a transported felon to Virginia from Newgate prison in London and suddenly, Moll feels the need to ask her mother-in-law’s last name since she begins to feel “uneasy” and after hearing the name sends chills down her spine (79). She soon realizes that her mother-in-law is none other than her biological mother and her husband is her half brother with whom she “…had two children, and was big with another….”. Readers can feel Moll’s shock and horror to this sudden discovery and her confusion as to whether she should be happy for finding her mother or the fact that she is now married to her half-brother. The readers can feel her severe agony as she claims, “I was now the most unhappy of all women in the world” (79). They are able to place themselves in the same situation and experience the torment as she struggles to deal with this harsh reality. This is the first time Moll is shattered because her morality is tainted due to the incestuous relationship. Some may argue that she does not have any morals because of her deeds but there are some principles, which govern her life and this being one of them. Even though, she is overcome with misfortune, she maintains her rationality and thinks about as to how will she disclose this information to her mother and her husband. Readers commend her for the...

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