What is the reason for the people’s disguise behind the false names and striking clothes which do not reflect the peculiarities of their personalities? Daniel Defoe is a master of depicting the events close to the reality in his books.
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That is why his characters often try to hide behind false names in order to present their ‘true’ stories of life. The female protagonist of Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders can use the masks better than anyone else because she is used to live in false reality using the false name and changing different clothes which do not help to emphasize her identity, but only hide her real nature.
Can the false name help to change the destiny? Can different clothes help to become the part of the other social class? The disguise of Moll Flanders’s individuality is her way to the recognition in the society. To understand the meaning of the name for the person’s identity and the meaning of the appearance and clothes for being recognized and accepted in society, it is necessary to analyze the relationship between Moll Flanders’ name, her clothing, and her role in the society.
In his novel, Daniel Defoe presents the story of Moll Flanders as the story of a real woman whose actual name is too common for the public to be reminded once more. Moreover, Moll Flanders also does not want to focus on her real name because people gave her another name.
Now she is known as Moll Flanders. However, what significance for Moll is hidden in this name? Why does she prefer to hide her individuality behind this common name and a number of others which she takes during her life? It is possible to notice that Moll Flanders uses aliases in order to hide her real origin as she hides her real appearance under different clothes.
Moll Flanders understands that to be accepted in society, it is important to look like the representatives of this society and to present oneself as the part of this or that social class. This ‘masquerade’ is complicated with the fact that to gain the definite recognition, it is more significant to be associated with the name of the expensive fabric than to reveal the real name which is known to the lowest social classes.