Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The purpose of this paper is to study the central characters in three of Defoe's fictions--Moll Flanders, Robinson Crusoe, and The Journal of the Plague Year--in order to discover the relationship between their factual biography and the conventional Christian moral scheme which they outspokenly lay claim to. All of these fictions are based upon a personal-journal format, and they describe their narrator's biography in a sequence of loosely-related episodes. They make use of a retrospective point of view, from which an older person (only slightly older in the case of the Journal of the Plague Year), writing his own memoirs and editing his journal, relates facts concerning his past life, and by implied or stated reference to conventional Christian morality, attempts to provide a moral standard against which to measure his own earlier life and actions. Many critics have questioned the sincerity of the overt moralizing done by these characters, for their are obvious, and possibly ironic, incongruities between their actions and their professed moral stance.