by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
Besides this, I observed that the men made no scruple to set themselves out, and to go a-fortunehunting, as they call it, when they had really no fortune themselves to demand it, or merit to deserve it; and that they carried it so high, that a woman was scarce allowed to inquire after the character or estate of the person that pretended to her. (251)
Unfortunately for Moll, in the seventeenth century, women's rights didn't really exist. Different genders have different places in society, so while being a member of the lower classes was no picnic, being a woman in the lower classes was even tougher.
I cannot but remind the ladies here how much they place themselves below the common station of a wife, which, if I may be allowed not to be partial, is low enough already; I say, they place themselves below their common station, and prepare their own mortifications, by their submitting so to be insulted by the men beforehand, which I confess I see no necessity of. (271)
Okay, so the women's rights movement hadn't happened yet. But if it had, we can't help but think that Moll would have been right at the forefront. After all, based on this quote, it's clear that she thinks it's unfair that a woman is forced to become a wife, which is a lower position. But of course Moll is no dreamer, and she knows that becoming a wife will make her feel legitimate and safe.
But the glittering show of a great estate, and of fine things, which the deceived creature that was now my deceiver represented every hour to my imagination, hurried me away, and gave me no time to think of London, or of anything there, much less of the obligation I had to a person of infinitely more real merit than what was now before me. (552)
We're going to come right out and say it: Moll is vain. Of course, this is something she has copped to earlier, so we can let it slide just this once. Still, we wish she weren't so easily swayed by a "glittering show," and would place more value on "real merit." But hey, she's only acting in the way society has taught her.