I need some assistance with these assignment. moll’s relationship to mother midnight Thank you in advance for the help! From when she was a little girl, and despite her very inauspicious beginnings as the daughter of a female prisoner in Newgate prison, Moll protested at being destined for a life as a domestic servant, her ambition was always to be a ‘gentlewoman’. She tried to escape her poor beginnings with energy and much imagination and ‘escaped’ time and again by marrying well only to find that her husband either died, turned out to be a half-brother, or left her bankrupt and destitute.
Moll finds herself in dire straits when she is introduced to Mother Midnight. Married to her fourth husband but left penniless as he turned out to be a fortune hunter, she found accommodation with a ‘gentlewoman’ and tries to maintain the genteel veneer that is necessary if she hopes to make another match that will lead her out of her predicament. Worse is to come in that Moll finds that she is pregnant by her fourth husband: she has a husband – necessary in the 17th century when single motherhood spelled social death – yet she does not know of his whereabouts. At the same time, there is hope for another match, a banker she had met previously, proposes to her after his divorce and the subsequent suicide of his wife. Moll finds her situation too complex to handle on her own, she does not have much money, she is without any friends, and without the support of a loving family who could support and advise her.
When Moll’s landlady sends for a midwife to help her address the problem, she finds for her a ‘Midwife of the right sort, that is to say, the right sort for me’ (p. 220). In Defoe’s times, the term ‘Mother Midnight’ was a euphemism often used to describe a madam or brothel keeper. Moll’s Mother Midnight turns out to be well versed in helping ladies with children but without a husband through their difficult times and a discreet offer is made to Moll whether she would like her assistance in getting rid of the problem, i.e. whether she would need assistance in aborting the child. Illegitimate children proved a great problem at a time when a strict code of moral conduct governed the lives of women. Children born out of wedlock were often fostered discreetly after their birth and more often than not did not live to see their first birthday.