The Rhetoric of First-Person Narration in Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders and Roxana


  • Naghmeh Varghaiyan Agri Ibrahim Cecen University, Turkey


Storytelling, first-person narrator, Moll Flanders, Roxana, Daniel Defoe


Most of the narratives constructed by Daniel Defoe represent the unfolding of the eponymous narrators’ adventurous lives. Despite the fact that Defoe’s narratives are not categorized as psychological novels, they are slightly coloured by the homodiegetic narrators’ evaluation of the events they lived, and the decisions they made at different points. By recounting their memories of episodes in their past lives, Defoe’s narrators mostly present us with the story of their own transformation or becoming. They narrate their life stories in an attempt to rationalize and justify past actions and decisions. In other words, they hope to persuade themselves, and at the same time their audience, about their transformed lives and identities at the time of narration. As this paper argues, narrating in Moll Flanders (1722) and Roxana (1724) is primarily used to relieve the tension between the two opposing versions of the narrators’ selves—the experiencing self and the narrating self. Moll’s and Roxana’s accounts represent an attempt to reconcile their identities and experiences throughout their lives. Thus, the paper aims to show how the uses of the first-person mode of narration has different uses in the two narratives. While the converging aspect of the two voices is dominant in Moll Flanders, it is the diverging nature of the remembering I and the remembered I which is highlighted in Roxana.




How to Cite

Varghaiyan, N. . (2023). The Rhetoric of First-Person Narration in Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders and Roxana. European Journal of Language and Literature, 9(2), 133–147. Retrieved from