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Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders

by Daniel Defoe

Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

I must let you know now in calmness and in kindness, but with affliction enough, that I am your own sister, and you my own brother, and that we are both the children of our mother now alive, and in the house, who is convinced of the truth of it, in a manner not to be denied or contradicted. (390)

This is a rare moment of honesty for our Moll. Plus this is probably a moment when being honest really stings, because the truth is so very revolting. But Shmoop has to be honest, too. We think she might be telling the truth here because she has absolutely no other choice. So while honesty is the best policy, for Moll, it's only a matter of necessity. And here it's very necessary.

Quote #8

I gave him a direction how to write to me, though still I reserved the grand secret, and never broke my resolution, which was not to let him ever know my true name, who I was, or where to be found; he likewise let me know how to write a letter to him, so that, he said, he would be sure to receive it. (613)

Moll can't even tell her Lancashire man, with whom she comes closest to true love, her real name. If she can't tell him, who can she tell? And if she keeps her real name a secret for so long, do you think it's possible she'll reach a point when her real name no longer matters? At some point, doesn't she just become Moll Flanders completely?

Quote #9

These were they [criminals] that gave me the name of Moll Flanders; for it was no more of affinity with my real name or with any of the name I had ever gone by, than black is of kin to white, except that once, as before, I called myself Mrs. Flanders; when I sheltered myself in the Mint; but that these rogues never knew, nor could I ever learn how they came to give me the name, or what the occasion of it was. (821)

Moll's most well-known identity, which lends itself to the title of her book, isn't one she chose for herself. And it's not even close to her real name, whatever that may be. The more she emphasizes this, the more we think she's not a huge fan of her new identity.

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