June Oh

Site in-progress | Interdisciplinary Literary Scholar

PERFORMATIVITY IN MOLL FLANDERS: AUTONOMY AND RELATIONSHIP

Oh, June Young and Lee Hye-Soo. “Performativity in Moll Flanders: Autonomy and Relationship.” British-American Fiction Journal of South Korea, vol. 12 no. 2. 2014. pp. 157-80.

Moll affirms her authority over her own identity and becomes autonomous through performativity, shifting through diverse identities she were not allowed to have. As she survives and thrives out of secrets, however, Moll has a problem of being disconnected from any meaningful relationships.

Oh and Lee

This paper reads Moll Flanders’ performativity as a way by which she displays her self-imposed authority while regarding her lack of coherence and sensibility as the repercussions of her performativity as well.

Moll’s disguises have been the object of critical castigation for their inconsistency and insensibility. Yet creating a role to play and taking various identities mean more than just a survival tactic to Moll. Moll affirms her authority over her own identity and becomes autonomous through performativity, shifting through diverse identities she was not allowed to have. As she survives and thrives out of secrets, however, Moll has a problem of being disconnected from any meaningful relationships.

This article explores how Defoe celebrates the power of performativity in individualism and handles its dark side that comes at a little bit of (serious) costs.

Keywords: Moll Flanders, Defoe, Individualism, Performativity, Relationship

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Illustration from an 18th-century chapbook reproduced in Chap-books of the eighteenth century by John Ashton (1834).

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