by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders Authorship Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
And here I cannot but reflect upon the unhappy consequence of too great freedoms between persons stated as we were, upon the pretence of innocent intentions, love of friendship, and the like. […] But I leave the readers of these things to their own just reflections, which they will be more able to make effectual than I, who so soon forgot myself, and am therefore but a very indifferent monitor. (475)
Just in case the immorality of this moment wasn't fully felt, Moll tells "readers" here to ponder their own thoughts regarding her example and see if it isn't a great reminder to be more moral, better people. So we guess that means we get to write our own thoughts into the story, too.
On the other hand, every branch of my story, if duly considered, may be useful to honest people, and afford a due caution to people of some sort or other to guard against the like surprises, and to have their eyes about them when they have to do with strangers of any kind, for 'tis very seldom that some snare or other is not in their way. The moral, indeed, of all my history is left to be gathered by the senses and judgment of the reader; I am not qualified to preach to them. Let the experience of one creature completely wicked, and completely miserable, be a storehouse of useful warning to those that read. (1001)
Moll excuses her lengthy retelling of her sins and bad behavior by emphasizing how "useful" and "caution[ary]" her story could be to the right reader. She says she just wants to provide people with information that can help them make better decisions in their lives than she made in hers. When you combine this with the author's words in the Preface, it seems they both believe that the role of a writer is to teach good behavior. But of course it also means that Moll gets to give us all the juicy details of her lurid behavior, for the sake of our souls, of course.
He gave me so many distinct accounts of his adventures, that it is with great reluctance that I decline the relating them; but I consider that this is my own story, not his. (1106)
Here's another moment in which Moll reminds us of her role as the author. "Sure," she seems to be saying, "my husband's "story" might be awesome, but this is the Moll Flanders show, not the Lancashire husband hour." She's the author, so she gets to decide what goes into her book, and what is not worth her words.