The Importance Of Space In Moll Flanders

1490 Words 6 Pages
The idea that ‘Space thus becomes an acting place, rather than a place of action’ is particularly potent when applied to Defoe’s Moll Flanders as he does not often describe setting or space in any great detail, almost viewing it as inconsequential to the actual story. This does not mean that space never has an effect on the character, however, it would be more accurate to say that the outcome of a situation lies on how successfully a character uses that space to their own advantage. The space itself does not have to have a huge effect on the character, it is more about how characters interact directly with and within with that space.

As mentioned above, Defoe is not wont to describe setting, the setting being primarily London in this novel,
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Moll describes how the older brother “began to be earnest” with her once they were alone. It should be noted that while Moll never confesses that she was uncomfortable with the situation, there are indicators of her being taken advantage of or coerced into it. For example, the brother’s actions towards her are described using aggressive language, Moll using the verb “threw” to refer to the manner in which the brother got her onto the bed. He is also said to have kissed her “violently”. With regards to how this relates to this narrative as a whole, perhaps this is why Moll begins to use space, even that which is unfamiliar to her, to her advantage later on in the novel. When she cons a “bundle of plate” from well-off family, she does so by coming into their home uninvited during a fire and offering her assistance. In this, Moll is using both an unfamiliar environment and dangerous situation to her own advantage - something she clearly did not do in the chosen …show more content…
However, on examining how it intersects with gender and even age, it becomes evident that space is used within this novel to give the reader information about a character and how they react to certain situations. When Moll is young and faced with an older man, she fails to use to space to her advantage and he is able to get the upper hand. When she is older and faced with a female thief, she immediately takes control of the situation and emerges unscathed. Further discussion of this passage in particular could examine how a character’s personal space interacts with the physical space they are occupying and whether, by interacting more fully with the space, a character finds it easier to handle certain circumstances. The way Defoe uses space gives characters not always moral, but definitely personal growth - Moll in particular learns how to not let unfamiliarity of a space get the better of her. In examining the role of space in Moll Flanders, the reader sees how space can be viewed so much in relation to a character that it becomes almost a character in

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